Rethinking What We Think We Know
We have spent some time over the last few weeks talking about names and titles. We talked about the name Jesus, and the title Christ. We talked about why we are called Christians and what it means that Jesus is the only Begotten. All this has been part of the Heidelberg Catechism's explanation of the Apostles Creed. For the most part, these have all been straightforward. While there are some misconceptions that are associated with Jesus and Christ, they are easy enough to understand. The misconceptions come from more of a lack of knowledge than anything else. Today we will look at another name/title that is misunderstood in different ways. Part of this is once again a lack of knowledge. That is a lack of thinking about it fully, but part of the issue is how people have taught different things over the last 50 years or so. It is amazing how short-sighted we are when it comes to things like this. We think of 50 years or even 100 years as a long time. We think if something has been taught that long it must be true and for many things, this is not a bad thought. But for teaching the scripture, new is never good. The Bible has been the same since the first century and has not changed. There is no new scripture, no new revelation. The text does not mean something new to us that it did not mean to the original audience. It is with that understanding that we come to our question for consideration today.
Our question today asks why we call Jesus "Lord." Given our introduction, it would be a good idea to look at where the misconception comes in. There are actually two major misconceptions that come with calling Jesus Lord. The first one we will look at is the idea that you do not need to call Jesus Lord but that he can be the savior alone. This is the idea that first you come to Jesus as savior and receive eternal life and can choose to obey him as Lord later if you feel like it. This comes from the idea that Jesus asks nothing of us in salvation. We often hear and are taught to come as we are to Jesus. That it does not matter what we have done. This is all true and wonderful. The issue comes when we stop there. You come as you are but you do not remain that way. Part of where we get the idea that we do not have to change comes from the language of acceptance. We are told, to accept Jesus into our hearts and we will be saved. Acceptance does not involve changing. It makes the person doing the accepting in charge of the event. As if you can just add this thing to everything else. It is something you can take or leave at your own pleasure. But this is not the message of scripture. The second misconception is that we make Jesus Lord. In a lot of ways, this is worse than the first, but they essentially have the same root. Both of these make us the ones in charge of the situation. As if without our involvement, Jesus can not do anything. Nothing could be further from the truth.
He Is Lord
The catechism asks "Why do we call him "Our Lord?" (Q. 34) The answer here is a brief one but it is telling. The answer is "Because he has redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with silver or gold, but with his precious blood, and has delivered us from all the power of the devil; and thus has made us his own property." (A. 34) One of the most telling parts of this answer is that you are not an active participant. He has redeemed us. He has made us His. He is the Lord. It is his name and who he is. We read in Exodus 3:15 we see God give his name to Moses, "God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations." He does all that he pleases. "Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps." (Psalm 135:6) We do not make Jesus Lord, he has been Lord from before the beginning. He is Lord without beginning or end. You, who are a created being, cannot make Him Lord of your life or anything else. He has always been Lord of your life. In your life and death, he is Lord. We do not make him Lord, we acknowledge and worship what already is. We worship and adore who he is and what he has done.
Something to Think About
To some of you, this may be a sweet reminder of who our savior is. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. To others, this may be something challenging, and I hope that it is. My prayer and hope is that you will think about how you treat being a Christian. Do you treat it like something added on, where you add Jesus to everything else you do? Or have you been transformed from death to life where everything about you is dedicated to the one who purchased you with his very blood? He is not something you add. He is our all in all. We do not just call him Lord, but serve him as his loyal subjects. He has the right to command and we have the responsibility to obey and teach others to obey. This is part of the Great Commission. He has all authority, not just some, but all, and he sends us out in his authority to make disciples, to baptize them in his Holy name, and to teach them to obey all that he has commanded. Are you treating Christ as merely a savior, as if you could take some of him and leave the rest? Or do you seek with all that you are to obey all that he has commanded? He is our Lord and King, both in our creation and in our redemption.
Soli Deo Gloria