It is most intensely interesting to recall that, of course, this is just what the very word Christ means,—the Crowned One. We sometimes get so used to a word that it is easy to forget its real meaning. The word Christ has been used so generally for so many centuries as a name that we forget that originally it was a title, and not a name.
And it still is a title, though used chiefly as a name. Some day the title-meaning will overlap the name-meaning. We may never cease thinking of it as a name, but there is a time coming when events will make the title-meaning so big as to clear over-shadow our thought and use of it as a name.
It helps to recall the distinctive meaning of the words we use for Him who walked amongst, and was one of us. Jesus is His name. It belongs to the man. It belongs peculiarly to the thirty-three years and a bit more that He was here, even though not exclusively used in that way in the Book.
There's a rare threefold sweetness of meaning in that five-lettered name. There is the meaning of the old word lying within the name, before it became a name, victory, victor, saviour-victor, Jehovah-victor. There is the swing and rhythm and murmur of music, glad joyous music, in its very beginnings as a common word.
Then it has come to stand wholly for a personality, the rarely gentle, winsome, strong personality of the Man of Bethlehem and Nazareth, and of those crowded service-days. And every memory of His personality sweetens and enriches the music in the old word.
And then the deepest significance, the richest rhythm, the sweetest melody, come from the meaning His experiences, His life, pressed into it. The sympathy, the suffering, the wilderness, the Cross, the Resurrection, all the experiences He went through, these give to this victory-word, Jesus, a meaning unknown before. They put the name Jesus actually above every name in the experiences of tense conflict and sweeping victory it stands for. This threefold chording makes music never to be broken nor forgotten.
"There is no name so sweet on earth,
No name so sweet in heaven,
The name before His wondrous birth,
To Christ the Saviour given."
Lord is a title, of course. It was used of one who was a proprietor, an owner, or a master. It was commonly used as a title of honour for one in superior position, as a leader or teacher. In speaking of Jesus it is coupled with the title Christ as an interchangeable word, [Note: Act_2:36.] as well as an additional title. But peculiarly it is the personal title given Jesus by one who takes Him as his own personal Master, [Note: Rom_10:9.] while it still retains its broader meaning.
But Christ is peculiarly the official title of Jesus. There is only one Christ. Lord is used of men. It is used of both the Father and the Holy Spirit, as well as of Jesus. But the name Christ is used of only one person, and can mean only that one. There could be only one Christ.
The word or its equivalent was used occasionally in the Old Testament in a narrowed sense for the King of Israel, who is reverently spoken of as "the Lord's anointed," that is, God's Messiah or Christ. [Note: 1Sa_16:6; 1Sa_24:6; 1Sa_24:10; 2Sa_1:14-16; 2Sa_19:21, and elsewhere; Psa_18:50, and frequently in Psalms.]
But the one common thought of it among the Hebrew people, growing ever intenser as the Old Testament period merges into the time of the New, was that there was one coming, the Messiah, the Christ, God's chosen, the one anointed and empowered, to be their Deliverer. The one question that sets all hearts a-flutter about the rugged John of the deserts was this: "Is he the Christ?" [Note: Joh_1:20; Joh_1:25; Luk_3:15.] In their thought there was only one to whom the title belonged.
And even so it is. Christ is the official title of the One Chosen and anointed by God to be ruler over His Hebrew people, and over all the race, and the earth, and the universe,—God's King, to reign until all have been brought into full allegiance to the great loving Father. [Note: Php_2:10; 1Co_15:24-26.] The Christ is the Crowned One, God's Crowned One. The very word Christ tells that Christ is crowned.