“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9
Generally speaking, a lord is someone with authority, control, or power over others; to say that someone is “lord” is to consider that person a master or ruler of some kind. In Jesus’ day the word lord was often used as a title of respect toward earthly authorities; when the leper called Jesus “Lord” in Matthew 8:2, he was showing Jesus respect as a healer and teacher (Matthew 8:25 and 15:25).
However, after the resurrection, the title “Lord,” as applied to Jesus, became much more than a title of honor or respect. Saying, “Jesus is Lord,” became a way of declaring Jesus’ deity. It began with Thomas’ exclamation when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection: “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28). From then on, the apostles’ message was that Jesus is Lord, meaning “Jesus is the Son of God.” Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost contained this theme: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36.
Later, in Cornelius’s house, Peter declared that Jesus is “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Note how in Romans 10:9 Jesus’ lordship is linked to His resurrection: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘the Lord Jesus,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The statement “Jesus is Lord” means that Jesus is part of the Godhead as the Son of God. Jesus has “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). He is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5). He is “our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 1:4). He is, in fact, the Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14).
Jesus referred to Himself as “Lord” many times (e.g., Luke 19:31; John 13:13). And when we compare the Old Testament with the New, we find several times when the “LORD” (Yahweh) of the Hebrew Bible is equated with the “Lord Jesus” by the apostles. “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalm 34:8
This passage is alluded to in 1 Peter 2:3, except there Jesus is the “Lord” who is good.“Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” Isaiah 8:13
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15
Amazingly, the Lord Jesus left His exalted position in heaven and came to earth to save us. In His Incarnation, He showed us what true meekness looks like (Matthew 11:29). Just before His arrest, Jesus used His power and authority to teach us humility: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14
The last will be first, according to the Lord (Matthew 19:30).
In saying, “Jesus is Lord,” we commit ourselves to obey Him. Jesus asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46.
An acknowledgement of Jesus’ lordship is logically accompanied by a submission to Jesus’ authority. If Jesus is Lord, then He has the right to tell us what to do.
A person who says, “Jesus is Lord,” with a full understanding of what that means (Jesus is God the Son and has supreme authority over all things) has been divinely enlightened: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). Faith in the Lord Jesus is required for salvation (Acts 16:31).
Jesus is Lord. It’s the truth, whether or not people acknowledge the fact. He is more than the Messiah, more than the Savior; He is the Lord of all. Someday, all will submit to that truth:
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9–11