(Answered on 10/03/2015 Program)
His Rightful Place
The one asking this question is pondering the depths of what it means to call Jesus “Lord”. More than just giving a proper title, to state Jesus is MY Lord says something about who He is and what my relationship is to Him. Some will state “Jesus is my Lord and Savior” which may be so (See Romans 10:9), but He is only your savior if He is truly the Lord of your life. That is, if my belief and life does not reflect Jesus has His appropriate place of honor in my life, I likely am not going to be a recipient of the salvation He offers.
- Lord: from the Greek kyrios, meaning “the owner; one who has control over other people” (See Strong’s number G2962). This conveys someone else is a master to us who has the power to decide what we do.
It is easy to say that “I’m a Christian” or “Jesus is my Lord”. Yet are we fully aware of what it means to say someone is the Lord over us? First, consider who the Bible states Jesus is as Lord:
1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. (NASB)
Here Jesus is described as Creator (we exist through Him) which is reason enough for Him to be master or an authority over all things. He is called “Lord” in the ultimate sense of the word knowing Jesus is God:
John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
John 8:58 I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
- I am: from the Greek words egō and eimi, meaning “a primary pronoun of the first person” with “to be, to exist” (See Strong’s number G1473 and Strong’s number G1510). This definition may seem intuitive, but to the Jewish audience it was clearly a reference to what God said of Himself to identify Him as being ever-present without respect to time (eternal). The Lord of the Old Testament (Yahweh) told Moses “I AM” was to be the name of the one who sent him in Exodus 3:14 (See also Isaiah 44:6 and Isaiah 47:8)
Regardless what I think or say Jesus is, if He is the one through whom we exist (God), He appropriately should have dominion over all things:
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
Mind And Heart
Perhaps the one asking this question intellectually believes in Jesus but wonders if they have fully committed their whole heart to putting the Lord’s interest before their own. Some may thoroughly know their scripture yet lack a heart willing to submit to Jesus as Lord. Jesus rebuked the Jew for lacking the heart to accept Jesus even while they took care to know the scriptures:
John 5:39-40 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life
Is there some reason why we would resist calling Him Lord? If it is true we are naturally self-interested, one’s heart might not want to fully yield their own will to someone else who would be their “master”. To call Him Lord means I will put His priorities (My Lord’s priorities) before my own. My impulsive when faced with making a choice that would please God instead of myself might not be much different from a child refusing to eat his vegetables; I don’t want to.
If it is not enough to acknowledge who He is (God) to do all for Him, what might motivate us to want to obey a Master? Love. He knows we are willing to surrender our will to His when we realize what a loving Master He is. Not only to we read about God as the source of love where we learn to love others (1 John 4:7-21), but God as described in the Old Testament has always desired we obey Him out of love:
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (NASB)
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; (NASB)
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 12 “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? (NASB)
To obey these command means we must understand He is God and love Him. Love Him with all our heart. God requires things of us though He has qualities we can love such as His faithfulness and loving kindness toward His people. A loving God we can rely on eternally is one we can lovingly submit to; especially when we know these things He requires are “for (y)our good“.
Does He Know Me?
God wants His followers to have assurances of their salvation though Jesus gave a real warning to those who might call Him Lord but not do things according to His Father’s will:
Matthew 7:21-23 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. (NASB)
Here are people actually calling Jesus “Lord” and doing things in the name of Jesus. Apparently, Jesus dismisses them because the things they were doing were not doing “the will of My Father”. From this we learn being a servant to the Lord means you must know and do what is expected in order to be approved. That is, do His will. Merely calling Him Lord is not enough. We must truly be His servants.
The outcome of not accepting Jesus as Lord is a serious matter for everyone since all will be held accountable to Him at some point. The special position of Jesus over all will be recognized by all; willing or not:
Philippians 2:9-11 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. (NASB)
Claiming Jesus is Lord is more than a slogan on a bumper sticker but an acknowledgement of the ultimate power and authority Jesus has over all (in heaven/earth/buried). So when God eventually holds me accountable for my life, I want the Lord to say He knows me as one who has done His Father’s will. From 1st John, I understand I need to truly acknowledge Jesus as the son of God the Father.
1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also (NASB)
1 John 4:15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. (NASB)
1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (NASB)
God the Father has designated Jesus as His Son who must be acknowledged for who He is: True God and source of eternal life. Paul wanted believers to show the extent of our willingness to live or die as a servants of Christ knowing how Christ died for us:
Romans 14:8-9 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (NASB)
He Is Your Lord
Those truly asking the question if Jesus is their Lord, will show Him they love Him by keeping His commandments (John 14:15, 21, 23-24). By our walk of life that shows we are keeping His commands, we can know the love of God is mature in us and we abide in Him (See 1 John 2:3-6).
There will be times when we learn what Jesus expects of us and we reply: “this is a hard teaching” and choose not to follow Him any more as Jesus saw happen in John 6:60-66. Jesus illustrated the level of commitment He desired of His disciples when He said:
Matthew 16:24-28 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.(NASB)
God has given us the opportunity to choose Him as our Lord. I can choose whether or not Jesus is my Lord; but if I do call Him Lord, then I intend to put myself in the role of servant. Jesus is Lord and it should be known in how I view Him, in my attitude to what He expects of me and in my willingness to yield to what He requires of me. May you truly call Him Lord and do as He tells you (Luke 6:46).