The Second Article of the Creed
Advent 2 December 12, 2018
Readings: Philippians 2:3-18; John 1:14-18
Catechism emphasis: The Second Article of the Creed
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on Earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said,`He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'” 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
THE SECOND ARTICLE OF THE CREED
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the
right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
What does this mean? I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.
IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
To the Christians in Philippi, the Apostle Paul writes, every tongue should confess Jesus Christ as Lord. [Philippians 2:11]
In the Catechism, we learn it like this: What does the Second Article of the Creed mean? It means that I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord.
What does it mean to have a Lord?
We have a saying that goes something like this: Don’t lord it over me.
“Don’t lord it over me” is said when we’re tired of someone pushing us around, trying to control us—when we’re tired of someone’s domination or intimidation: Don’t lord it over me.
From this it becomes clear that to have a lord is to have someone over you, someone in control, in dominion, speaking with a voice of threat or intimidation or manipulation.
No reasonable person wants to be “lorded over” by another.
Every tongue should confess Jesus Christ as Lord.[Philippians 2:11]
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord.
Jesus is a lord unlike any other. He has the power, the potency, to control and intimidate and dominate any and all. He is true God, of one
and the same substance with the Father—as Paul says, He is in the form of God, and he does not consider equality with God a thing to grasp at. [Philippians 2:6] So potency and control are no problem to Jesus. He’s not deficient of power.
But he is a lord unlike any other.
he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself out, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.[Philippians 2:8]
Jesus is a lord unlike any other. Our world can understand a lord who establishes his dominion by control, intimidation, and power. Jesus establishes his dominion by emptying himself out of power, by taking the form of a servant, by being born as a man, and by humbling himself and becoming obedient unto death.
Obedient unto our death!
If death dominates our world, and it does; if death intimidates us, if death is the lord under whose grasp we cannot escape, then Jesus became obedient unto death for us.
Death no longer intimidates and controls us, it is no longer our lord. For death was his lord on the cross, where he stood in our place to be dominated by it.
Death is no longer our Lord. Jesus is our Lord.
He is the Word of God—the creative, life-bestowing Word of God—and He became flesh, became Man, to become our Lord. And when He became flesh, we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
We beheld his glory when we saw him die on the cross. We of course, can’t see him die on the cross. It happened some 2,000 years ago, and we weren’t there. But for that reason he left us his word, His holy Scriptures. In the reading and preaching of the holy words, we, too, along with Mary and John and all those others gathered around the cross, we, too, through his Word, are given to look upon his cross.
Looking upon the cross, we behold his glory. For Jesus’ glory is him taking all sins upon himself and putting them to death on the cross.
Jesus’ glory is his holy blood poured out to pay for the sins of every sinner. His glory is the word out of his mouth to the crucified thief beside him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
We beheld his glory, says John, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. Beholding his glory, seeing his suffering and death, looking at his poured-out blood, we see our Lord.
That’s what it means to have a Lord. As the Large Catechism says,
“The little word ‘Lord’ simply means the same as Redeemer, that is, he who has brought us back form the devil to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and keeps us there. That is to say, he became a man, conceived and born without sin, of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin, so that he might become Lord over sin; moreover, he suffered, died, and was buried so that he might make satisfaction for me and pay what I owed, not with silver and gold but with his own precious blood. And he did all this so that he might become my Lord.”
He’s your Lord and mine—let every tongue confess Jesus Christ Lord.
IN THE NAME OF JESUS.