Jesus has been exalted not only as Messiah; He is also Lord. To understand what this meant to the first Christian community, we must try to recover in imagination their experiences. We look at the entire New Testament through the spectacles of nineteen ceturies of theological discussion and interpretation of the person of Jesus. We read the Gospels and the book of Acts in the light of our understanding of the pre-existence and the incarnation of God the Son. However, the early Christians had no such concepts in their minds. They had no doctrine of the deity of Christ by which they might interpret Jesus. They were not looking for the incarnation of the eternal son of God, the second person of the Trinity, to effect an atonement for their sins. They were looking for the appearing of a mighty Messianic King who would destroy God’s enemies, or for the appearing of a heavenly Son of Man who would bring in the new Age.
However, with the resurrection, hope revived. The early church proclaimed Jesus not only as Messiah but as Lord. By the resurrection and ascension, God exalted this crucified Jesus to be Lord and Messiah. The significance of this proclamation can hardly be overestimated. “Lord” as a religious term to a first century Jew was the name used for God Himself.
The Young Church
by: George Eldon Ladd