JESUS IS LORD
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NIV)
When Paul is declaring that Jesus Christ is Lord in Philippians 2:11, he is making a seditious statement. This is because in the Roman culture of his day, the Roman emperor is a deity who is meant to be worshipped. On the coins in the Roman empire, there is the inscription that says, “Caesar is Lord”.
Archaeology has also found a stone with the following words: “Divine Augustus Caesar, son of a god, imperator of land and sea and saviour of the whole world.” Caesar Augustus is the emperor when Jesus was born. It was common practice to bow their knees to Caesar in the palace and to raise their hands and shout: “Caesar is Lord.”
Paul is in a prison in Rome for his Christian faith at the moment. At any moment, Caesar might issue a decree for his execution. Paul writes to the Philippians about Jesus as God born as a man and becoming obedient; even in death on the criminal cross. Paul then states God exalts Jesus after the death on the cross and gives him a name that is above every name, that upon his name every knee shall bow to him like an emperor and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord (not Caesar is Lord, but Jesus Christ is Lord). If the Roman emperor intercepts this letter that Paul has sent from a prison in Rome, he might be offended and issue a decree for Paul to be beheaded immediately. Paul is living dangerously by writing these words on the letter to the Philippians.
In the front of the sanctuary of the church I grew up in Malaysia, we have these words inscribed on the front wall; “Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:11)”. As we read the Bible and sing hymns and spiritual songs on Sunday mornings, we are reminded of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Back home in Malaysia, we try to remember not to take the freedom to worship Jesus Christ for granted.
Here in Canada, we too should not take our freedom to worship Jesus Christ as Lord for granted. God gives us the peace and freedom so that we can worship him and share him with others. Paul says that there is a time coming that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11 NIV)