Friday, May 29, 2009

Kyrios & Jesus

One of the most important titles for Christ in the New Testament is Kyrios or Lord. It is important because it is a title that relates to the exalted state of Christ and the fact that he is a reigning king/Lord who has triumphed over sin and death. He now exercises rule. It is equally important because it comes as indication to us of Christ's eternal deity. It is connected to the Old Testament in numerous key places so that when the title is attributed to Christ, Paul, in particular, is quite clear that he is connecting Jesus Christ to the divine identity/name of God of the Old Testament.

Larry Hurtado writes:

There are thus three main types of Pauline contexts in which Jesus is characteristically referred to as Kyrios: (1) In hortatory statements and passages Jesus is the Lord/Master whose teaching and example are authoritative for believers. (2) In references to eschatological expectations, Jesus is designated the Lord who will come again as agent of God. (3) In formulae and passages reflecting actions of the worship setting, Kyrios designates unequaled status given to Jesus by God and is the characteristic title given to Jesus in teh worship practices of early Christian circles." (Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, 117)

One cannot get around the title of Jesus: Lord. One cannot get around the Old Testament uses verses that reference YHWH and make the clear referent of the passage Jesus. Couple this with the devotional patterns of the first Christians, which Hurtado has clearly shown numerous times over that devotion typically reserved for God alone was giving to Christ by the first Christian, and we begin to see even more clearly the truth and effect of the confession of Jesus' divinity by the very first Christians.

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