top of page

Jesus is Lord!

Polycarp was the bishop of Smyrna, today the city of Izmir on the west coast of Turkey. According to one tradition, he was taught by the apostle John and was appointed to his office by the apostles themselves. At age eighty-six, Polycarp was arrested by the Roman proconsul and burned to death when he refused to renounce Christianity.

Due to his advanced age, Polycarp was given the opportunity to save himself. He was asked, “What harm is there in saying ‘Lord Caesar,’ and offering sacrifice, and saving yourself from death?” (Coins throughout the Roman Empire proclaimed the Emperor’s divinity.) The proconsul urged him harder. “Take the oath and I’ll let you go. Curse Christ.”

What was Polycarp’s answer? “Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” He was then burned at the stake. Polycarp was willing to die rather than renounce the Lordship of Jesus.

Philippians 2:9-11 declares, “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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Ligonier Ministries, begun by theologian R. C. Sproul, posted the following at their website,

it was not unusual to refer to Caesar as kurios, the Greek term for “lord.” …Faithful Christian that he was, Polycarp could not call Caesar lord without violating the most basic tenet of the faith (Ex. 20:3).

…the Greek version of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint translates the Hebrew Yahweh and Adonai as kurios. Yahweh is the revealed name of God in Hebrew and Adonai is one of His titles; thus, kurios, or “Lord,” is the most important title for God in the Septuagint, which is quoted throughout the New Testament.

When kurios is used in this sense, it conveys the idea of “one who is absolutely sovereign.” It is a majestic title, conveying God’s sovereignty and divine power, and it is a remarkable proof of Jesus’ divinity when it is applied to Him in this manner. Philippians 2, in which Paul discusses the humiliation and exaltation of God the Son, calls Jesus “Lord” in the highest sense. “Lord” is the name above all names that is given to our Savior when the Father exalts Him (vv. 9–11).

Early Christians like Polycarp were martyred because they refused to confess Caesar as lord. They knew that Jesus alone is divine and would have no one usurp His status. These Christians knew the New Testament is not merely being polite when it calls Jesus “Lord”; rather, it is teaching that Jesus is God Almighty. Idols of sex, money, power, prestige, and so on can become lords if we are not careful; therefore, let us always confess that Jesus Christ alone is Lord.

Is Jesus Christ the Lord of your life? Is He your absolute sovereign, your all in all? It is tempting to look to Him in times of need (for provision, protection, wisdom, etc) and then live the rest of your life based upon what you think is best. That does not work when it comes to the Lordship of Jesus. It has been truly said about Him that “He is either Lord of all in your life or He is not Lord at all.” There is no middle ground where He is Lord some of the time, or even most of the time, but not All the time. It may not be a life-threatening statement for us to make in America, like it was for Polycarp then and others today, but may our prayer always be, “Jesus, be the Lord of all!”


This Sunday, May 26, we will resume our teaching series that asks the essential question, “Who is Jesus?” This week’s answer? “Jesus is Lord!” He is above all & He is over all! Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (HonoluluAG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We livestream every Sunday to both locations and would love to have you join us.

Note: Last Sunday, Surr Vang, Chi Alpha missionary to the University of Hawaii (Manoa), shared a powerful message about the Holy Spirit for Pentecost Sunday. If you missed it, please check it out at either Facebook, YouTube, or our website ( And please pass it along to someone in need of inspiration or encouragement.

Aloha ke Akua!


bottom of page