Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ephesians 1:1c (continuation)

We saw last time that Jesus’ Hebrew name (Yeshua), means “the Lord is salvation,” and those who know Christ recognize the reality of that wonderful, powerful name in their lives; for the Lord, indeed, is our salvation.

We will now look a little more at what could yet be said about the Lord’s name and title.

The word, Christ, is Jesus’ title (it is not His last name, as many people think). The word means “Anointed One.” Christ comes from the Greek, Christos – which comes from the Hebrew Meshiach, and translated into English as Messiah.

The word Meshiach comes from the verb mashach, which means to “smear, anoint or spread.” The verb in its various forms is found nearly 150 times in the Old Testament, and is often used for the ceremonial induction of people into leadership. For example, Prophets who represented God to the people were anointed with oil, as well as Priests and Kings were all mashach-ed (so to speak).

And so, an anointing meant that someone was authorized to serve God in a position of honor and responsibility. But while many were anointed, only one person in all of Scripture was given the title of "the Anointed One" -- Mashiach, or, Christos.

So when St. Paul uses the phrase Christ Jesus in verse one of Ephesians, he is telling his readers that Jesus, our savior, God’s Son, is specially anointed by the Father to be for you and me, “Wisdom from God, and righteousness, sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Are we hurting? God sent Messiah Jesus to be our comfort (Isaiah 61). Are we lost? Christ is anointed as our shepherd (Psalm 23 and John 10). Hungry for spiritual things? Jesus is anointed to be our Bread (John 6). Thirsty for God’s truth? He is the flowing river of life (John 4). Lonely? Jesus is our eternal companion who never leaves us (Matthew 28:19-20). Confused? He is our Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6). The Lord Messiah said in John 10:10 He came that we might have an abundant life.

Indeed, it is at the name of Jesus, St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians (chapter 2), every knee will eventually bow – some will do so in reverence and love, and others by force, in much the same way as enemy soldiers were forced to bow to their conquering king before their execution – “every knee will bow, of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Further, all creation echoes St. Peter’s declaration in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there any other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

So then, is there a life-application of all this information we find in this first verse? Does it affect me? Should it affect me?

Yes, to all those questions.

Jesus is Lord of Creation by default. He is Lord simply by virtue of His being God. But – is He Lord of my life? Is He Lord of yours? Will we give Him all of our freedom, our memory, understanding and will? Are we happy to surrender everything to Him – our wealth, our health, our life and our love to His hand?

The apostle Paul was sent specifically by God to tell his readers – even us in the 21st century – about the forgiveness and hope and purpose we can have only in Christ. If we've not made a conscious decision as an adult to follow Jesus, to obey Him and His Church, if our relationship with Christ hasn’t made a difference in our life, then now would be a good time to turn to the Savior.

And a good place to start is by praying a prayer similar to this, now, or later in the confessional with our priest this week:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven,and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God,Who are all good and deserving of all my love.I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins,to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

And so we come to the close of this lesson. But there is plenty more to say about verse one of chapter one. We will leave that, though, to next time. For now, consider the following questions for reflection:

Questions for Reflection

1. Compare Malachi 1:6 and St. Luke 17:7-10. What is the Holy Spirit saying to His children in these two passages?
2. What is the Lord warning His listeners about in Matthew 7:21-27?
3. How can we avoid calling Jesus "Lord," but not treating Him as Lord?

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