People approach Jesus in many different ways. Some see Him as a good teacher, an influential figure, or an ancient myth. Other’s approach him as the babe in the manger. Many as savior and redeemer with the cross in view. Some see Jesus as healer and in some cases, more like a genie ready to grant our wishes. But the Bible tells us we must approach Jesus in a life-shattering way that changes everything.
In many ways, our redemption in Christ is a two-step experience played out in a variety of ways. The order and timing aren’t as important as accepting both parts. Many of us started by accepting Jesus as our savior. Asking for His forgiveness and inviting Him into our lives. But at some point, we were challenged to accept Jesus as Lord, the king of our lives. Paul identified this in Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (Romans 10:9, NASB95)
The Lordship of Jesus is not optional. Paul wrote, “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,” (Philippians 2:9–10, NASB95) Every knee will bow. Some willingly, some hesitantly, some begrudgingly, but all will ultimately bow to the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Prince, pauper, king, slave, rich, poor, healthy, sick, every nation, every persuasion, every language, from the first person to the last, will bow.
But the more important question is right now. To what degree is Jesus Lord for you and me? We all have our kingdoms. The kingdom of self which is ruled by me, myself, and I. The kingdom of family. The kingdom of reputation. Perhaps a kingdom of work or business. Along with kingdoms of leisure and play. Jesus is the King of kings but will only rule over the various kingdoms of our life if we let Him. Our acceptance or denial doesn’t change who Jesus is, only what He can do in us today.
People’s acceptance or rejection of Jesus doesn’t change His position as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. One day everyone will know it, will declare it. The question for us remains, is Jesus our Lord? What parts of my life do I still control? What parts have I given to Jesus? There’s an old saying attributed to Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China – “Christ is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.”
Even though Jesus is Lord, He does not enforce His right but woos us to open every door of our heart. So, Taylor is right, but there also needs to be room for Christ’s Lordship to grow. Room for grace. The problem is, of course, that we seem to see clearly what areas are not under Christ’s lordship in others but are generally blind to our own need.
It is also easier to adopt someone else’s definition of Christ’s Lordship than to take the time to discover it for ourselves. It is much harder to work out with Jesus the rights and wrongs of everyday life. But if Jesus is Lord, then Jesus is Lord and not Bill’s, or Bob’s, or Mary’s, or Lucy’s or…version of what that looks like. Yes, we very well may arrive at the same place, but it will be because Jesus is our Lord.
I heard this example once of the various degrees we accept Jesus’ lordship. Think of a car. Is Jesus in the trunk like a spare tire, there just in case we have an emergency? Is Jesus in the back seat, we like being in His company but only when it suits us? Or, is Jesus in the passenger seat, close by ready to answer questions and suggest which way to go? Or have we given Jesus full control by inviting him to take the wheel and decide where, how, and when we are going? Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. But the question remains. Is Jesus your Lord?