We’ve seen who Jesus is. The question is: who is he to us? The creed ends with the only logical answer: Jesus is Lord over all. Lord has become a flaccid term, like we get to decide whether Jesus is Lord or not. It means something like “Jesus has become my spiritually meaningful religious leader.” That is not what the term Lord means. To confess that Jesus is “Lord” is to announce that he is Lord of all.
Big Idea: What’s different about Jesus? He’s the long-promised Messiah, the beloved Son of God, and the Lord over all.
There is something different about Jesus. He’s different from any other religious leader, any other person who has ever lived.
It’s not just his followers who say this either.
Comedian Jim Carrey struggles with believing in the deity of Jesus but he still can’t stop thinking about Jesus. “He’s constantly coming up in my head,” he says.
John Jeremiah Sullivan, an award-winning writer, walked away from his Christian faith, but says, “once you’ve known [Jesus] as God,” it’s hard to find comfort in Jesus as just another man. And even after years of unbelief, Sullivan admits “one has doubts about one’s doubts.”
Charles Templeton pastored Avenue Road Church in Toronto. He was one of North America’s most influential preachers before declaring himself an agnostic. Near the end of his life, Lee Strobel interviewed him.
“And how do you assess this Jesus?” It seemed like the next logical question—but I wasn’t ready for the response it would evoke.
Templeton’s body language softened…
“He was,” Templeton began, “the greatest human being who has ever lived. He was a moral genius. His ethical sense was unique. He was the intrinsically wisest person that I’ve ever encountered in my life or in my readings. His commitment was total and led to his own death, much to the detriment of the world. What could one say about him except that this was a form of greatness?”
I was taken aback. “You sound like you really care about him,” I said.
“Well, yes, he is the most important thing in my life,” came his reply. “I . . . I . . . I . . . ,” he stuttered, searching for the right word, ‘I know it may sound strange, but I have to say . . . I adore him!” . . . “In my view,” he declared, “he is the most important human being who has ever existed.”
That’s when Templeton uttered the words I never expected to hear from him. “And if I may put it this way,” he said as his voice began to crack, ‘I . . . miss . . . him!” (The Case for Faith)
There’s something about Jesus. It’s not just me or even just Christians who say that. Even agnostics admit there’s nobody like him.
And so we’re going to look for a few weeks at the next part of the Apostle’s Creed. We’re in this series about basic Christian doctrine. The Creed begins like this:
I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord
We looked at the first sentence last week on God the Father. Today we’re going to look at this extraordinary Jesus. What’s so different about him?
This part of the Apostle’s Creed tells the difference between Jesus and everyone else:
- He’s the long-promised Messiah
- He’s the beloved Son of God
- He’s the Lord over all
Let’s look at these three
Jesus is the Long-Promised Messiah
“…and in Jesus Christ…” We tend to think of Christ as Jesus’ last name. But that’s not at all what the name Jesus Christ means. Jesus was Jesus’ proper name, and not an uncommon one either in Jesus’ day.