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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Speaking of Jesus: July 2009

One of the most offensive parts of our faith is that we claim that Jesus is the Lord of all things. It was the claim "Jesus is Lord" that was so infuriating to the opponents of Christianity. To call Jesus "Lord" was angering to the Jewish opponents because that was a term designated for God in the Old Testament. To call a man that is unbearably heinous (unless it is true!). To worship a man and not God was to break the very first and most important of all the commandments. For the Gentile opposition, calling Jesus "Lord" was offensive because it was a name reserved for Caesar. To worship someone over and against Caesar was illegal and, in the wrong company, could get you killed. And, despite such opposition, recognizing they could die for such claims, the early Christians proudly and boldly worshiped Christ as Lord! Thomas has the greatest of all confessions in the Bible when, upon seeing the risen Jesus, he exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)

The offense has not left the claim in our day and age. People recoil when we proclaim that Jesus is Lord over all. People do not want a Lord, but would rather be in charge of their own lives. They do not want to be told they are sinful or that they cannot take care of their own lives. The sinful nature is always trying to be the master of its own destiny. When we claim that Jesus is Lord over all creation, which He both brought into existence and redeemed, and the ONLY Lord with no other beside Him, it is a clear reminder that I am not Lord, not even of my own life.

But this is where we are able to offer up Good News about the Lord Jesus! He is not a malicious dictator who cares nothing for you or me, but cares only for His own power and glory. Rather, He is a Lord who loves us and serves us! When we turned against His Lordship in a coup to take over our lives, only to secure our own death, He put His life in our place and died to forgive our rebellion and give us life. Far from pursuing His own self-serving glory, His glory was to shame Himself on a cross for us. He has risen from the dead, thus conquering death for us, and now rules us with love and mercy. He does not rule us to condemn us, but to save us and forgive us. He said, "For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it." (John 12:47) We do not have a Lord who demands we live up to His standards or else..., but one who wants to serve us by loving us, forgiving us, and saving us. He kept His demands for us. There is nothing else He demands that He hasn't given us. And now He wants to continue to love and serve us, to guard and protect us, and to carry us through to salvation on His strong arms of mercy and love!

When we speak of Jesus as Lord to our friends, and they grow uncomfortable with the idea of having a Lord over them, let us be quick to remind them of the nature of Christ's reign. It is not one of laws and demands, but one of love and mercy. As Robert Kolb says, "To unbelievers who bristle at the thought of anyone trying to exercise lordship in a life which they wish to dominate themselves, the Christian presents a fatherly and loving Lord, who provides security because He framed the universe, and who provides meaning because He reclaimed human life by entering into the midst of it. No common Lord is He. He is the Lord!" (Speaking the Gospel Today, 134)

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email