Jesus As Lord


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The Bible reveals Jesus as many things—the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, but it seems that the one thing God will make clear to all people at some point is that He is Lord.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11)

When I think of “Lord” I think of authority. Interestingly, it was Jesus’s authority that caught people’s attention early on. The gospels record that people questioned the authority with which He taught, they wondered about (and some doubted) His authority over unclean spirits. And His disciples were especially amazed at His authority over elements in nature.

I’m also curious about the way that Satan interacted with Jesus in the three temptations recorded in the book of Matthew. One was a concession that Jesus was master over physical elements, acknowledging that He could turn stones into bread if He wanted. Another was a concession that He, or at least His Father, was master over the angelic host and could protect Him at will.

The third is the one that seems different. In the temptation involving who would rule the kingdoms of the world, Satan seems to be offering to trade what he had for what Jesus had—his power and control of the earthly kingdoms, for God’s position as Lord over all.

Jesus being God had that same position and authority.

Sadly, people in today’s western culture seem eager to bring Jesus down. For some time, other religions have acknowledged Jesus as a prophet, and it seems that view of Him is flooding into our Christianized societies. Hence, to many He is little more than a guru, a rabbi, a good teacher.

Even professing Christians belittle Him by limiting His work on earth to a “this is how it’s done” example for us to emulate. Given that Jesus lived a sinless life, we can undoubtedly learn by studying what He did and said. But Jesus as example should not supplant Jesus as Lord.

What Jesus said wasn’t just good thinking, wise advice, logical, helpful, and moral. It was right. It was true.

He spoke as the one person who knew the Father and who could reveal Him. He spoke from a position of omniscience, without any misconceptions or delusions. No one else could speak this way. Only Jesus. Only the One who is over all.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Col 2:9-10, emphasis added)

I find it especially interesting that Jesus’s half brother James started his letter “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ …” Here’s a man who could have claimed a special relationship with Jesus on a human level but chose instead to identify himself as a servant for life to the Lord. Essentially he established his credentials to say what he was about to say by declaring his relationship with Jesus as Lord, not as brother or friend or even as Savior.

When I think about the fact that those words were inspired by the Holy Spirit, I get a picture of how God wants me to view Jesus.

This article is an edited version of one that first appeared here in June 2011.

Published in: on June 20, 2019 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Who’s In Charge?


Psalm 103:19
“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”

It’s a great truth about God. The last line basically says, God’s sovereignty is sovereign. I think we need that reminder. At least, I know I do. So I’m re-posting this article from three years ago that addresses the subject.

Christ as Lord 2When I was a kid, someone explained how God wanted to be Lord of my life, but I had Self sitting on the throne. I like that picture, but in this day of democracy, we don’t get the king thing like we once did.

Perhaps today the real question is whether God is the CEO of my life. I’m not up on the way business works, but as I understand it, the CEO is in total control of the management of a corporation. This still may not be the best picture of our relationship with God, but one thing I know. He is not a silent partner.

He hasn’t simply put up salvation so that we can then go about living our lives as we please. Nor are we equal partners. I’m tempted to say our relationship is more like that of an employer-employee, except that’s not right either. God clearly states we aren’t any longer servants but sons.

katang_father_and_son_dig_for_cricketsSo children it is. The Father in charge, but lovingly so. And the child imitating the father, involved in family affairs, asking questions, learning, representing the father when away from home.

Except, in our confused western society, fathers aren’t always in charge and they don’t always know best. In fact, until recently, most sitcoms showed dads to be the dimmest bulb on the Christmas tree.

But maybe that picture, and even the one about the Lord or King on the throne is a more accurate depiction of Humankind’s relationship with God than I’d like to admit. They once were respected, they once ruled, but given time and circumstances, kings became titular heads and fathers became figureheads.

Have we done that to God? We say He’s on the throne of our lives, but have we started ignoring Him? Or treating Him as if He just doesn’t quite get how the world works these days. He’s not up to speed with the latest and coolest.

Take the idea of wives submitting to their husbands, for example. What a backward idea in the age of Feminism.

So, is God wrong in such matters? Or did people for centuries misinterpret the Bible when it says, “In the same way, you wives be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1).

512px-fire_01Or could it be that we have purposefully climbed back on the throne of our lives and are doing what we want regardless of what God says.

It’s possible for Christians to do that. Scripture calls it quenching the Holy Spirit who was given to us to lead us into all truth. It’s a good metaphor since God is referred to often as a consuming fire. We’d need to quench a consuming fire to get to the point where we could go our own way instead of His.

Published in: on November 16, 2016 at 5:35 pm  Comments Off on Who’s In Charge?  
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Who Else Is There? You Have The Words Of Life


With_His_Disciples023Dissent among the followers! That’s what Jesus experienced as He proclaimed that He was the bread of life. Like the bread of life given to the people of Israel during their exodus, Jesus clearly stated that He came down from Heaven.

Well, that was a deal breaker, at least for some. Jesus was the carpenter’s son, the neighbor boy who played with our kids, the squirrely twelve-year-old who got left behind in Jerusalem one year. And he was saying he came down from Heaven?

Jesus explained further, finishing with this:

I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh. (John 6:51)

Well, that made the bad, worse. Was he saying they should eat his flesh? What kind of a kook were they following? Time to make a hasty exit. The things he was saying were just too hard. Too hard to be believed? Too hard to obey? Too hard to understand? One commentary at least says the followers understood what he was saying, but they couldn’t accept those statements. Whichever way, many left. So many, in fact, that Jesus turned to the Twelve and said, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” (John 6:67b)

That’s when Peter came through, as he did from time to time. What teacher, what Messiah claimant could we possibly go to? You’re it. “You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68b)

Peter’s declaration is as true today as it was in the first century. Our postmodern society with its relativistic view of reality postulates that there are many ways to god, that what your culture has taught you to believe is no more “right” than what someone from India or Saudi Arabia or Chad or Taiwan or Costa Rica has come to believe because of their culture and history and heritage. “Truth” is a malleable thing based on our understanding which has been molded by our culture. So Americans are likely to claim the Christian god, Indians, the many Hindu gods, and so on.

But Peter’s question seems to cut through the relativism. Where are we supposed to go? You have the words of eternal life. Implying that no one else does.

Jesus spoke authoritatively, and His followers, then and now, believe with assurance, conviction, standing in contrast to those who hope one day to reach Nirvana or Enlightenment or the highest level of Paradise or the third Heaven or the place of the 144,000. Have they done enough, they wonder? Have they been good enough? Have they been generous enough? Kind enough? Have they done enough religious activity?

The Christian has no such concern. We know the answer—we haven’t done enough and, in fact, can never, if we lived life over again a thousand times, ever do enough. We are not banking on our own actions, because that’s futile. Instead, we are counting on Jesus Christ, the one, the only one, who has the words of eternal life.

Without Jesus, we are exactly like everyone else. With Jesus we are changed because we are forgiven. Not on the bases of anything we’ve done from our own store of good deeds. No. We’re made new because Jesus gave us the robe of righteousness. Our stinking garments made up of our best efforts that got us nowhere, are done away with. Now we are clothed in Christ’s clothes.

It is on the basis of His provision for us that we have the assurance of Heaven. We don’t sit around wondering who’s good enough to get in. We glory in the fact that all who have been baptized into Christ’s death will be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection. (See Rom. 6)

After all, there’s nowhere else to go, no other god to give us salvation. God alone is LORD (Nehemiah 9:8).

For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens. (1 Chronicles 16:25-26)

Published in: on May 18, 2016 at 6:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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My Story


I'm the one in the front with the "what's going on" expression.

I’m the one in the front with the “what’s going on” expression.

I love hearing how other people have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Though our backgrounds are different and the events in our lives are miles apart, we still have a common experience when it comes to giving our lives over to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

So it’s exciting to hear other people tell the details that brought them to that place.

My story always feels ordinary and unexciting, but I guess that’s part of the beauty of God’s amazing love. While He can pull out a last-minute rescue such as the one the thief who died next to Jesus experienced, and He can dramatically turn around a Christian-hater like Paul, He can also open His arms to the little children whose parents brought them to receive His blessing.

My story is like the ones those little children might have told years later.

I came to Jesus when I was three—as near as I can tell. I don’t actually remember the moment in time when I turned my life over to God. At least not that first time.

Yes, there were multiple times. I’ve written elsewhere (in “Believe in Jesus” and “My Deceitful Heart“) about my early doubts and the process of coming to realize I had, in fact, entered into a relationship with God despite my sins of action and attitude which continued to plague me. You see, I’d thought the evidence of my relationship with God would be a life of perfect obedience, and I just wasn’t seeing that.

Eventually I came to the point where I realized if I was to get off the roller-coaster of doubt, I had to trust that God meant what He said: if I confessed with my mouth (and I had) and believed in my heart that Jesus was who He said He was (and I did), I was saved.

The issue wasn’t what I had to do because I couldn’t do anything big enough or great enough to earn a right relationship with God. If I was to be saved, it was because of what Christ did for me, and I simply had to put my trust in Him.

Here’s the thing that I think is so cool about my story of coming to Christ—He saved me from myself.

I used to hear testimonies of people who came from hard lives—drugs and promiscuous lifestyles and gang involvement. Now they had a testimony, I thought. God saved them from stuff that was killing them.

Me? Well, I lied to my first grade teacher and didn’t come to the dinner table right away when my mother called.

See? As I was measuring stories, mine wasn’t so great. It was easy for me to believe in Jesus because I didn’t have all the garbage others had to wade through.

But, oh, how wrong that perspective is. I had my own pride and self-righteousness and judgmental attitudes from which God had to save me.

Which is harder, to save someone who is a drunk or a prostitute, or someone who thinks she might actually be good enough she doesn’t have to have the “sinner” label attached to her?

Well, as it turns out, neither is easier. Both require the exact same thing—the blood of Jesus Christ shed for the forgiveness of sin. Not one kind of sin is more or less easy to forgive than another. Both are forgiven because of His work at the cross, period. I don’t bring a thing to the table and neither does the person who comes from a lifestyle mired in hard living.

My pride and self-righteousness was as great a barrier to reconciliation with God as drug addiction or having an abortion was for other people. Sin, in any and all its shapes, is what blocks our path to God, and sin is built into our DNA.

It’s even built into the DNA of “the good kid.” So my story is really the same as every other Christian’s—God rescued me when I couldn’t rescue myself. He pulled me up from the miry clay because I couldn’t pull myself up.

In the end, my story is really God’s story. He’s the hero, the rest of us, me included, are proof of His love, His power, His forgiveness, grace, and unrelenting faithfulness.

Who’s In Charge?


Christ as Lord 2Years ago, when I was a kid, someone explained how God wanted to be Lord of my life, but I had Self sitting on the throne. I like that picture, but in this day of democracy, we don’t get the king thing like we once did.

Perhaps today the real question is whether God is the CEO of my life. I’m not up on the way business works, but as I understand it, the CEO is in total control of the management of a corporation. This still may not be the best picture of our relationship with God, but one thing I know. He is not a silent partner.

He hasn’t simply put up salvation so that we can then go about living our lives as we please. Nor are we equal partners. I’m tempted to say our relationship is more like that of an employer-employee, except that’s not right either. God clearly states we aren’t any longer servants but sons.

father and sonSo children it is. The Father in charge, but lovingly so. And the child involved in the family affairs, asking questions, giving input, representing the father when away from home.

Except, in our confused western society, fathers aren’t always in charge and they don’t always know best. In fact, until recently, most sitcoms showed dads to be the dimmest bulb on the Christmas tree.

But maybe that picture, and even the one about the Lord or King on the throne is a more accurate depiction of Humankind’s relationship with God than I’d like to admit. They once were respected, they once ruled, but given time and circumstances, kings became titular heads and fathers became figureheads.

Have we done that to God? We say He’s on the throne of our lives, but have we started ignoring Him? Or treating Him as if He just doesn’t quite get how the world works these days. He’s not up to speed with the latest and coolest.

Take the idea of wives submitting to their husbands, for example. What a backward idea in the age of Feminism.

So, is God wrong in such matters? Or did people for centuries misinterpret the Bible when it says, “In the same way, you wives be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1).

Or could it be that we have purposefully climbed back on the throne of our lives and are doing what we want regardless of what God says.

It’s possible for Christians to do that. Scripture calls it quenching the Holy Spirit who was given to us to lead us into all truth. It’s a good metaphor since God is referred to often as a consuming fire. We’d need to quench a consuming fire to get to our own way of doing things instead of His.

Published in: on September 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm  Comments (10)  
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More Than A Name


In fantasy from time to time there are characters empowered by their “real” name. Perhaps they need to go on a quest to discover that name or perhaps the one who know it holds magical powers over the person. At any rate, the name is more than just a name.

In a similar way, calling Jesus Christ “Lord” is more than giving Him a particular name or title. Peter says in his first letter “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15a). In this context I believe “sanctify” refers to the second meaning of the word listed in the Oxford English Dictionary: “make legitimate or binding.” Some synonyms would be “permit, allow, authorize, legitimize.”

I particularly like the last two because Peter’s command seems so proactive, as if this is something each Christian must do.

Interestingly, and in stark contrast, Jesus tells a group of people following Him that at the judgment there will be people calling Him Lord, Lord, and He’ll say, “I never knew you.”

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ ” (Matt 7:21-23)

How can this be? Doesn’t Paul say in 1 Corinthians something different?

Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3)

In context, what Paul said reinforces what Jesus said. Jesus was pointing out that some people will know who He is and will even identify with Him and claim they are working for Him, but they are not obeying Him.

Paul, in his letter, discussed the work of the Holy Spirit, including the quality of love that is the “more excellent way,” and which just happens to be the command Jesus gave His disciples:
“This I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17).

Unfortunately, there are many false teachers who distort the truth about Jesus.

Some, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will call Him the Son of God and even God, but they’ll define those terms in ways that undermine Christ’s true nature. Others who believe they are supposed to hold His feet to the fire of His own promises, order Him around as if He had come to serve them, not as if He is their Lord. Another group believes Jesus is a good example because He was so loving, because He overcame His “dark side.” They miss His deity.

These and other false ideas about who Jesus is affect what a person means by saying He is Lord. It reminds me of the people of Israel calling the golden calf they made by God’s holy name. They could say, Here is your God all they wanted, but their words did not make that idol God.

So too with Jesus. Calling Him Lord takes on meaning only if we know who He is and sanctify Him as Lord in our hearts.

Published in: on November 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm  Comments Off on More Than A Name  
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Three Days To Go


Like twelve, three has so many possibilities, it’s hard to narrow this article down to one Biblical use of the number. The magi gave three kinds of gifts, the God-head is three, Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights. Peter denied Jesus three times. Jesus took three disciples — Peter, James, and John — with Him on special occasions like the transfiguration (where they saw three glorified persons) and prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (where He went before His Father three times, asking if He could possibly bypass the suffering ahead of Him).

Instead of any of these — as good as they are — I want to mention something else. After Jesus rose from the dead, He spent forty days on earth, showing up in the least expected ways. One such was an early morning when Peter had decided to hang up his ministry mantle and go back to fishing. He took some of the other guys with him — his brother Andrew most likely, John for sure, and probably his brother James.

All night they fished and netted nothing. On their way back to shore they spotted Jesus cooking fish on a charcoal fire. Apparently they didn’t recognize Him right away. He told them to throw their nets back into the water on the right-hand side of the boat and they’d make a catch. They complied and caught so many fish they couldn’t haul them into the boat. At that point John recognized Jesus.

Peter, as impulsive as ever, dove into the water and swam for shore. The others followed in the boat, dragging the net filled with fish. When they arrived, Jesus told them to bring some of their catch over to His fire. So they hauled in the fish — 153 of them that didn’t tear the nets — cleaned and cooked some, and had breakfast with the risen Christ.

Afterward Jesus and Peter took a walk, and this is were the three comes in. Three times, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, phrasing it a little differently each time. Do you love me, in a self-sacrificial way, more than you love these — presumably referring to the fish Peter had decided to go after. Second time, Jesus merely asked, Do you love me in a self-sacrificial way? The third time, Jesus changed the verb. Do you love me in a brotherly-kindness way, which was actually the answer Peter had been giving Him from the start: You know I have brotherly-kindness in my heart for You.

Each time Jesus gave Peter instructions, and it had nothing to do with fishing. In the end He said, follow me. And by the way, Jesus added, you’re not going to die a free man.

What about John, Peter asked. Not your worry; you follow me, Jesus answered.

From this encounter I think there are some important things we can learn about the Lordship of Jesus — in fact, three particular points. 😉

1. Being imperfect doesn’t disqualify us. I imagine Peter wasn’t able to force out the words, I love you sacrificially, because he’d once declared his willingness to die with Jesus, then proceeded to run away when Jesus was arrested. When he got up the courage to sneak back to see what was happening, he denied he knew Jesus, even cursed to convince those making the accusation. How could he ever again declare his willingness to sacrifice for Jesus? He most likely didn’t believe himself capable. But Jesus knew the power of the Holy Spirit that would be coming into Peter’s life, and He knew the Father’s forgiveness He had bought with His own blood. Peter was not shelved because of his sin, as egregious as it was.

2. Following Jesus isn’t dependent upon what He’s doing in anyone else’s life. Peter wasn’t to measure whether or not he was on the right track by looking over at John. He was to keep his eyes on Christ.

3. Following Jesus doesn’t come with promises of ease and success, the way the world measures success. Sure, Peter preached a powerful sermon at Pentecost and became one of the pillars of the church, but he was poor (he said so to the lame beggar who he healed) and despised by the men of influence. He was imprisoned and eventually killed for his faith.

In light of this last point, some may wonder why anyone would want to follow Jesus. We’re pretty used to asking in our culture, What’s in it for me? And if we don’t think there’s enough added value, we’d just as soon pass.

But that’s the point. Jesus isn’t someone we add into our life as if we need to squeeze him in along with all the rest of what we’ve got going. Our boss is important, the in-laws, the buddies at the ball park or bar, the wife of course (or husband), and why not add in Jesus. He might give me a little of that Tebow magic. Or the peace everyone talks about at Christmas. Or joy. Who doesn’t want a little joy?

Jesus doesn’t “work” like that. He’s not a genie or a Magic 8 Ball. He’s a person, a sovereign person, who requires us to recognize Him for who He is.

We come to Him and we follow Him because we recognize He is Lord. He alone gives us access to the Father through the blood of His cross. He alone can present us to Him as holy and blameless and beyond reproach.

For some of us, we’ve tried it our own way and we’ve come to the bottom. We know, regardless of what the pundits say, that the power isn’t in us to get where we want to go. What’s more, there’s an end rushing up towards us and we don’t know what’s next. We certainly don’t want to go forward alone. Except, it seems that’s the way it works. Unless Jesus is true and He really will never leave us or forsake us, unless He really does have an answer to the dominion of darkness that overshadows all of life.

Truly good news — the announcement of Christmas. Jesus is come and He is Lord.

Published in: on December 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm  Comments Off on Three Days To Go  
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Joy And The Holy Spirit


Most Christians have probably heard or read that joy is not the same thing as happiness. I think we’re pretty clear about the distinction.

A quick study reveals that joy is grouped with patience, peace, love, faithfulness, and a few other traits to constitute the fruit of the Spirit.

Why, then, I ask myself, do I think I need to manufacture joy?

And since the Holy Spirit is the source of joy, wouldn’t it be fair to say, if I’m not experiencing joy, I must be quenching the Holy Spirit?

I mean, Galatians 5:22-23 doesn’t make joy an optional piece of fruit. If we have the Spirit, we have the fruit. It’s a matter, then, of walking by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). Or not.

As I’m writing this, the little chorus “The joy of the Lord is our strength” comes to mind. The words simply repeat that line over and over — a line from Nehemiah 8:10.

The returned exiles, struggling to make a go of it in the homeland most of them had never seen before, asked Ezra, one of their leaders, to read the book of the law. He read from dawn to midday. A group of others then explained the text and taught the people what it all meant.

Their reaction? Nope, not joy.

They were weeping and mourning. The Law exposed their sin, and they were undone.

That’s when Nehemiah stepped in. Stop crying, he said. Today is a holy day, set aside for the Lord. Get up and let the feast begin. Don’t grieve. The joy of the Lord is your strength.

And the people calmed down, got up, and celebrated “because they understood the words which had been made known to them” (Neh. 8:12).

Except, two verses earlier, their understanding caused them to grieve. But now? Celebration. How can that be explained apart from the joy of the Lord?

The Spirit convicts of sin. The proper response should be sorrow leading to repentance. And then comes joy, not a manufactured joy or an inauthentic emotion.

The reality was, their circumstances hadn’t changed. They were still returned exiles struggling to get it together. In their own estimation, they were still slaves:

Behold, we are slaves today,
And as to the land which
You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty,
Behold, we are slaves in it.
Its abundant produce is for the kings
Whom You have set over us because of our sins;
They also rule over our bodies
And over our cattle as they please,
So we are in great distress. (Neh 9:36-37)

Under those circumstances, Nehemiah gave them that salient truth: The joy of the Lord is your strength. Not bitterness or complaining, certainly. But not continued grieving, either. And not what we rely on today, a can-do spirit.

Their strength came from what only the Spirit could provide — joy from the Lord.

Ironic, then, that quenching the Spirit leads to the opposite of what someone going through difficult circumstances needs — strength. The little recap of Jewish history in Nehemiah 9 spells it out:

You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst. v. 20 (emphasis mine)

Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell. v 21

You also gave them kingdoms and peoples … v. 22

You made their sons numerous as the stars of heaven … v. 23

So their sons entered and possessed the land… v. 24

They captured fortified cities and a fertile land… v. 25

But they became disobedient and rebelled against You v. 26 (emphasis added)

Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them. v. 27

Listening to God’s Spirit strengthened the people; rebelling against Him, didn’t.

So what was it those Israelites Nehemiah addressed, understood that made it possible for them to calm down, stop grieving, and celebrate?

Not a change in their circumstances, as I’ve noted. Not the promise of a change in their circumstances either. Rather, I believe they understood how faithful the Lord is and how He had not left them or forsaken them, and that He would not. They had the Lord, so they had His joy which gave them strength.

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm  Comments Off on Joy And The Holy Spirit  
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Jesus As Lord


The Bible reveals Jesus as many things — the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, but it seems that the one thing God will make clear to all people at some point is that He is Lord.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11)

When I think of “Lord” I think of authority. Interestingly, it was Jesus’s authority that caught people’s attention early on. The gospels record that people questioned the authority with which He taught, they wondered about (and some doubted) His authority over unclean spirits. And His disciples were especially amazed at His authority over elements in nature.

I’m also curious about the way that Satan interacted with Jesus in the three temptations recorded in the book of Matthew. One was a concession that Jesus was master over physical elements, acknowledging that He could turn stones into bread if He wanted. Another was a concession that He, or at least His Father, was master over the angelic host.

The third is the one that seems different. In the temptation involving who would rule the kingdoms of the world, Satan seems to be saying, in his offer to trade, that he had the power but God had the authority.

Jesus being God would then have that same authority.

Sadly, people in today’s western culture seem eager to bring Jesus down. For some time, other religions have acknowledged Jesus as a prophet, and it seems that view of Him is flooding into our Christianized societies. Hence, to many He is little more than a guru.

Even professing Christians belittle Him by limiting His work on earth to a “this is how it’s done” example for us to emulate. Given that Jesus lived a sinless life, we can undoubtedly learn by studying what He did and said. But Jesus as example should not supplant Jesus as Lord.

What Jesus said wasn’t just good thinking, wise advice, logical, helpful, and moral. It was right. It was true.

He spoke as the one person who knew the Father and who could reveal Him. He spoke from a position of omniscience, without any misconceptions or delusions. No one else could speak this way. Only Jesus. Only the One who is over all.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Col 2:9-10, emphasis added)

I find it especially interesting that Jesus’s half brother James started his letter “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ …” Here’s a man who could have claimed a special relationship with Jesus on a human level but chose instead to identify himself as a servant for life to the Lord. Essentially he took his right to say what he was about to say from his relationship with Jesus as Lord.

When I think about the fact that those words were inspired by the Holy Spirit, I get a picture of how God wants us to view Jesus.

Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm  Comments (2)  
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Of Masters And Lords


Having rebelled against a king, the United States, at its founding, did away with royalty. No more dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies. Instead, the concept of egalitarianism reigned. For a segment of society, at least.

Over the years, that concept spread, until today most people in the US would say, No one can order me around. No one. I’m free to do as I please, and if you force me to do what you want, you’re being abusive, either emotionally or physically.

Of course there’s a great problem with this idea. My freedom may impinge on yours, so we have government regulations that serve as a referee over us.

Sadly, we still cling to the notion that we are free. I’m reminded of the Jews telling Jesus that they’d never been enslaved by anyone. This would be the Jews that were at that very time under Rome’s thumb. The same Jews who had been exiled in Babylon and before the exodus, enslaved by Egypt.

So here’s the majority of US citizens, feeling free and in control. Empowered. We are captains of our own fate, after all, masters of our own souls.

But of course we aren’t.

If we were, we’d be free from sin and death and taxes.

Yet it seems we’ve lost the understanding of what it means to be subservient. Hence we don’t recognize what it is that masters us. We talk as if each person is his own boss, and many, if not most, believe it.

Sinful little tyrants, we set up the kingdom of self. We will rule, even if we must be slaves to our own passions.

Others are beholden to their jobs or spouses or drug of choice or sin habit or stuff they own.

Yet through it all, Jesus gently calls us. He’s the one master who will never abuse us, who has only our good at heart, who promises a light burden and a constant provision of unending strength.

But we’ve thrown off the shackles of servitude, we think. We will have no other lord before us but ourselves. To yield my will to another? Unthinkable. To turn over the reins of my life to someone else? Frightening.

After all, we are all doing such a good job of running our little worlds, aren’t we.

Published in: on June 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm  Comments (5)  
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