This phrase was the early church's profession of faith at baptism (cf. Rom. 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:9-11). All three of the major terms used in the NT to designate the Promised One, the Suffering Servant, are used in this phrase.

1. Christ – This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term messiah, which meant "an anointed one" (see Special Topic: Messiah). It implies "one called and equipped by God for a specific task." In the OT three groups of leaders (priests, kings, and prophets) were anointed. Jesus fulfills all three of these anointed offices (cf. Heb. 1:2-3).

2. Jesus – This Aramaic name meant "YHWH saves" or "YHWH brings salvation." It was revealed to his parents by an angel (cf. Matt. 1:21). "Jesus" is derived from the Hebrew word for "salvation," hosea, suffixed to an abbreviation of the covenant name for God, "YHWH." It is the same as the Hebrew name Joshua (see Special Topic: Names for Deity).

3. Lord – The term "lord" (kurios) can be used in a general sense or in a specific theological sense. It can mean (1) "mister," "sir," "master," "owner," "husband," or (2) "the full God-man." The OT usage of this term (adon) came from the Jews' reluctance to pronounce the covenant name for God, YHWH, which was from the Hebrew verb "to be" (cf. Exod. 3:14). They were afraid of breaking the commandment which said, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (cf. Exod. 20:7; Deut. 5:11). They thought if they did not pronounce it, they could not take it in vain. So, they substituted the Hebrew word, Adonai ("my Lord"), which had a similar meaning to the Greek word, Kurios (i.e., meaning #1, cf. John 4:11). The NT authors used this term to describe the full deity of Christ.

There are several confessional phrases used of Jesus.

a. Jesus is the Messiah/Christ – Acts 5:42; 9:22; 17:3; 18:5,28; 1 Cor. 1:23

b. Jesus is the Son of God – Acts 9:20; Rom. 1:3-4; Heb. 4:14

c. Jesus is Lord – Acts 2:36; 10:36; 11:20; Rom. 10:9; 2 Cor. 4:5; Phil. 2:11; Col. 2:6

In a sense these summarize the early church's understanding of Jesus of Nazareth.

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