This part of the Creed (meaning ‘profession of faith’) contains a personal name, ‘Jesus’ and three titles that he carries: ‘Christ’, ‘only Son’ and ‘Lord.’
This was a common name among Israelites and means, ‘The Lord saves.’ But given to the man conceived by Mary in Nazareth it has special, unique significance. It was announced by the angel because this Jesus saves his people from sin and death. He is the embodiment of God’s saving power.
This is his first title but has become so common that many think it is a kind of surname! It comes from the Greek word (Christos) used to translate the Hebrew term for ‘the Messiah’ and means ‘God’s anointed one’ – anointed by the Holy Spirit. Many Jews at the time of Jesus hoped for several messiahs, who it was believed would restore political power and religious rule from the Temple. It was therefore an ambiguous term and Jesus was always careful in using it publicly. What was not anticipated however was the unique kind of messiah he turned out to be: one who would save the world by dying and rising again.
This signifies that Jesus is the unique child (and Word) of God the Father, born eternally but appearing in time as the incarnate Son of God (meaning ‘God-made-flesh’). After his resurrection Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit, through whom God adopts us as his children, making us the brothers and sisters of Jesus – and of one another.
‘Lord’ (Kurios in Greek) was how the Jews translated the name of God from Hebrew. It was given to Jesus after his resurrection and indicates that he is equal in all things to God his Father. But it also has political implications for us. For Christians no earthly power or authority can ever come before him.
From the Roman Empire to the Third Reich, all earthly power will be judged by the only true Lord – Jesus Christ the Son of God, risen from the dead.