MISTER JESUS or LORD JESUS?
Brothers and sisters who love the Lord Jesus,
We are often criticized that the attribute of Jesus Christ should be “Mr” (or master or sir) and not “Lord “. It is us, Christians who wrongly proclaimed Jesus Christ as Master and insisted to use the attribute “Lord” to Him, so they say.
The basic argument used by the critics is that the word “kurios” in Greek should be translated as “mister, master or sir!! It is not clear to me as whether they do not know or is just being dishonest here, since the word “kurios” can be translated as “sir, mister, master, Lord or God depending on to whom this word is related to.
Let us consider the “Shema” (confession of faith of the Jews) in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 6 verse 4 which reads:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD”
“Hear, O Israel:The LORD is our God, the LORD alone
or as written in the Hebrew as:
שׁמע ישׂראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד
“Shema Yisrael YaHWeH Elohiym YaHWeH echad”
“Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohim Adonai echad”
We will talk about the word “echad” which translates as “esa” (unity) in the Indonesian language in the discussion of the Trinity. Now let us focus our attention on the issues listed above – mister or Lord?
I’m not an expert in Greek, but we can always investigate a word according how it is used in certain contexts. When was asked about the ultimate law in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus used the “Shema” in Deuteronomy 6:4 by saying:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Mark 12:29)
which in the Greek New Testament is written as:
“ho de iEsous apekrithE autO hoti prOtE pasOn tOn entolOn akoue israEl kurios ho theos hEmOn kurios heis estin”
where the term “Lord God” or “LORD God” or “Yahweh Elohiym” or “Adonai Elohim” is written as “kurios ho theos”.
Naturaly, any logical person would object if the word ” kurios ho theos ” is translated as “mister God” or “sir God”, because they just don’t go along. As a Jew, I believe that what the Lord Jesus meant at that particular moment (most likely in Aramaic) is “Yahweh Elohiym” or “Adonai Elohim”.
Acts 11:20 says that:
“Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. (NIV)
In the Greek New Testament, the term “about the Lord Jesus” was written “tons kurion iEsoun.” If the word “kurion” is simply translates as “mister” or “sir”, why did they have to bother themselves in preaching the gospel, anyway? As a “male teacher ” or as a “prophet” (so they say), the attribute “mister” and “sir” is automatically attached to Jesus without having been supported by the preaching of the gospel.
Similarly, Romans 10:9 states:
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The term “Jesus is Lord” in here is written in Greek as “sous kurion iEsoun”. If the word “kurion” here simply means “mister” or “sir”, then there is no need to declare the “lordship” of Jesus in order to be saved.
More strikingly, the apostle Paul put Jesus’ “lordship” in Philippians 2:10-11as follows:
“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.”
The term “Jesus Christ is Lord” is written in the Greek New Testament as: “kurios Iesous christos”. Why would God be glorified if the attribute given to His Son is only “mister” or “sir”? Why would all knees in heaven and on earth bow and all tongue confess if Jesus is just a “mister” or a “sir”?
In Matthew 7:21 – which is became famous to our critics because they so often manipulated it to prove that “Jesus was not God”, the Lord Jesus said:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
The term “not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord!” in the Greek New Testament is written, “ou pas moi ho Legon kurie kurie”, while “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,” is written, “de ti me kaleite kurie kurie”. We all know what these verses mean, don’t we? If one believe that Jesus is Lord then one should exercise that belief by making Him the Lord of one’s life – in doing what He says.
When the term “things which I say” in Luke 6:46 puts the “sayings of Jesus” at the same level with “the will of My Father” in Matthew 7:21, then “kurie kurie” can not be translated as “mister” or “sir” because these two attributes can not be attached to a ‘person’ who is equal to God and be required in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The “word of a mister or a master” can never be equal to the will of the Father in Heaven! The “word of a master” can never be a requirement to enter into the kingdom of heaven, but the “word of the master of Heaven Who is Lord or LORD”. Jesus Christ is implying here that “doing His words in one’s life is an evidence of the recognition of His Lordship”, and that is the “entry ticket” into the kingdom of heaven!
The same thing is observed when the term “fulfill what the Lord had said” (Matt. 1:22) is written “hupo kuriou tou” and “angel of the Lord” (Matt. 1:24) is written “aggelos kuriou”.
Again, when the angels proclaim the birth of Lord Jesus, the term is used in Luke 1:11: “is Christ the Lord” written “Estin christos kurios” and the word “kurios” in the New Testament written in Hebrew “האדון” which means “Lord” and not “Sir”. If “kurios” here means “sir” or “Master”, then the angels do not need to proclaim His attributes. But if the attribute “kurios” This is part of the angel’s announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ, hence the term “kurios” should be translated as “Lord” or “God”!
One example where the word “kurios” can be translated as “master” or “sir” as in Matthew 6:24:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
The term “two masters” here is written as “dusi kuriois” in the Greek New Testament. Although the Lord Jesus is referring to God and Mammon, the term “kurios” here pointing to “who they serve” – and not about who God is or what should be the attribute of Mammon.
The word “kurios” in Greek is the same with the word “adonai” in Hebrew, which also means “mister, master, Lord and LORD. Now we understand that when this term is used in relation to God, then “adonai” should be LORD or Lord as is with Jesus (see Deuteronomy 6:4 or Mark 12:29). Therefore, the term “Lord Jesus Christ” in Hebrew is written “Adonai Yeshua HaMashiakh”!
Adonai Yeshua HaMashiakh bless you all!