I think that sometimes, perhaps even oftentimes, we think too fast. We rely on our foundation of fundamental knowledge and we go from there. Too rarely do we allow ourselves to stop and be confounded by what we experience around us, or by what we encounter in scripture.
For us, it is all about getting to the end of the day as efficiently as possible.
And so, too often, we don’t see what is in front of us.
Jesus is both man and God. Both weak and strong. Both healer and healed. Both dead and alive.
Astoundingly, all at the same time.
So when we call Jesus, Lord, just what do we mean by that? Do we look to our history lessons and say, he is master over me as those lords back then were masters over their vassals?
Is that how we see Jesus? As lord of the manor, supplier of training and arms to his militia, caretaker and caregiver to the serfs that work the land?
If we do, we’re missing the mark. By a very large margin.
Throughout the Bible, God is called Lord. Lord, Lord, come help me. Lord, my God, save me from my enemies. Lord God, I lay myself down in your temple and feel relieved.
But there’s a very real difference between God, the Father, there, and God, the Son, here. God, the Father, creator, maintainer, and destroyer, is lord from afar. He is lord through our births, through our living, through our deaths.
He is there for us, in his own capacity that, except for brief grasps here and there, escapes our understanding.
Jesus, on the other hand, was and is lord on the Earth. He is the living lord, and he is the lord of the living.
And here is where our stockpile of data fails us: the Bible defines Jesus’s lordship.
There are three general areas where Jesus serves as master, in a most enigmatic way, at least in comparison with other Earthly lords.
First, Jesus is the lord of that area of our lives that centers on our faith. Ephesians brings Jesus as lord and our faith together:
I beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism. (v. 1-5)
Look at what is strung together here as what is associated with Jesus as lord on Earth: (1) love, (2) unity, (3) peace, (4) the body, (5) the Spirit, (6) faith, and (7) baptism.
Not exactly the raising of pigs or the setting up of a tax code.
Not even close.
Baptism I will leave to the next area of Jesus’s lordship.
But here we have love and unity being part of the peace that Jesus brings to the Earth. A peace that comes to us through his ability and willingness to overcome in war those forces that seek to overthrow God’s authority.
The Lamb who takes up the spiritual sword and shield for our sake.
And those who are with him in this battle are the called, the chosen, and the faithful. (Revelation 17:14)
(Hold that thought.)
The second area of Jesus’s lordship on Earth comes to us through the sacraments. And reveals his mastery in healing through his transformation of himself from Earthly healer to sacred sacrifice that comes to us through the rites of the church.
In baptism, we are washed clean, made clean, and are given the grace to remain in that awareness of our access to being made whole over and over and over again through Jesus.
And that same cleansing healing comes to us through the Holy Eucharist.
The Anglican Prayer of Humble Access, begins with the words, We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our righteousness.
And ends, incredibly, with the assertion that through communion, our souls [are] washed through your most precious blood.
Are souls are washed. They are cleansed. And as a result of this cleansing we are able to co-dwell with Jesus: we in him and he in us.
This is as far from the reality of an Earthly lord as we can get.
There is no separation. No hierarchy. No to-the-manor-born distinction.
He is, in this way and in so many others, a lord through his service to us.
And, now last. Not least. Not by a long shot.
Jesus is, as we know so well because we sing it and say enough, Lord of Lords.
What do we think this means exactly?
That he is a leader over all the Earthly leaders? The uppermost Lord in the British Parliament, perhaps?
Just who are the Lords that Jesus lords over?
Well, what if these vassal-lords of Jesus are the called, the chosen, and the faithful? The saints of the Earth, in a most Biblical meaning of the word.
The ones who have through the opening of their hands, their hearts, and their souls to God have become sanctified, at least partially. For sanctification for any other than Jesus on Earth cannot be an absolute process.
Even Mother Teresa had doubts about God’s love for her.
But could she not be considered a lord? A master of her own knowledge of God who put that knowledge to good use in the service of others?
Think about all the people that you know who fill this description. Think of yourself and all the ways that you serve God because of the love you have for him, even in those quiet moments of gratitude.
And so what would the world be like if we restructured our education with reference to our understanding of Jesus and his lordship and our relationship with him?
What if we, when we go down on our knees or bow our heads or even look up to the sky to pray, recognized in our acknowledgement of our servanthood to Jesus not only his majesty as our Lord, but our own acceptance that we are the Lords that he fights for? That he heals? That he cleanses?
What if we truly accepted that we can dwell in him, and he in us, that we are not separated by our status on Earth from his?
And by doing this, we can fight for him, heal for him, cleanse the world for him.
Our Lord on Earth holds the key that can unlock the untapped storehouse of love that we carry inside us. We wait to be recognized for who we really are. And we wait to be called, chosen, and to become faithful.
To our Lord.