The basic creed of the New Testament community was “Jesus is Lord.” As we have pursued being a multi-denominational congregation (who is clearly part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), we have become challenged by the notion that “Jesus is Lord” might be creed enough for us.
Jesus was sent by God to reveal God’s rule and reign on the earth – the Kingdom of God. As the Jewish Messiah and as the “Lord” (a title Jesus even takes for himself in John 13:13-14), Jesus was understood to be the King of that Kingdom.
N. T. Wright and others point out that to say “Jesus is Lord” is to also be saying that others are not Lord; not Caesar, not Herod, nor any earthly authority.
In Paul’s great hymn recorded in the second chapter of his Letter to the Philippians, it is due to Jesus’ willingness to suffer the humility of God entering into human flesh, becoming servant of all, and ultimately his obedience in his self-sacrificing death that
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name
that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:6-11).
Maybe the clearest picture of all comes from the scene in heaven, portrayed in The Revelation of Jesus Christ, chapters 4 and 5. John is ushered into the throne room, and witnesses the complete focus and worship of heaven centers on “the One who sits on the throne” (Revelation 4:10). Then we see the further apocalypsis (unveiling) of Jesus Christ when all the focus and worship of heaven is shifted to the “Lamb who was looking as if it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). He is also referred to as “the Lion of Judah, the root a David” (Revelation 5:5) if there was any question about his identity. And the song of heaven centers on Jesus:
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise (Revelation 5:12).
We believe there are two essential discipleship questions to be answered if Jesus is Lord:
- What is God saying to me/us?
- What am I/are we going to do about it?
Pursuing and answering these questions in relationship to Jesus’ Lordship in our lives is enough for us.