What does the Bible mean when it says that Jesus was made Lord and Christ?

by Matt Slick

How could Jesus be made Lord if He was already the Lord? In other words, Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9). Therefore, He already is Lord and Christ.

Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Jesus was not made Lord in the sense of He was made into something He was not already. Instead, it is dealing with His status as a man made under the law (Gal. 4:4), in a lower position (Luke 14:28). In that sense, He was made Lord and Christ by God the Father. 

The Fallacy of Equivocation

We must be careful to avoid the fallacy of equivocation. This means that a word has different meanings in different contexts and a lack of clarity causes confusion. For example:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Therefore, a bird is worth more than President Bush. 

In this example, the word "bush" has two different meanings. This is the fallacy of equivocation.

The phrase "Jesus is Lord," can also be subject to this fallacy. It can mean Lord as in God, but it can also mean a lofty and superior position, in this case, as prophesied in Scripture. So, to be "made" Lord and Christ is not descriptive of a change of nature but of declaration a position according to the Law of God. The context of the verse shows that Peter, who made this statement, was quoting the Old Testament in support of the Lordship of Christ.

Let's look at the context. It was the day of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit had moved upon people, and they were speaking with tongues (Acts 2:1-13). Peter gives a sermon and explains these same people are not drunk. Instead, it is a fulfillment of Scripture (Acts 2:14-21). 

  • v. 22, Jesus was attested by God with miracles.
  • v. 23, Jesus delivered by the predetermined plan of God, and was nailed to the cross.
  • v. 24, God race Jesus from the dead.
  • vv. 25-28, Old Testament quotes about where God does not abandon Jesus.
  • v. 29, David died and was buried.
  • v. 30, David was a prophet, God promised one of his descendants would sit on the throne.
  • v. 31, the Christ would not be abandoned in Hades, or suffer decay.
  • v. 32, God raised up Jesus.
  • v. 33, Jesus is exalted to the right hand of God.
  • vv. 34-35, It was not David who ascended into heaven.
  • v. 36, the verse under consideration.
  • v. 37, the listeners were pierced to the heart and asked what to do.
  • v. 38, Jesus says to repent.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.