One of the great declarations made in the Bible about Jesus is that He is Lord of all. Jesus is Lord is a familiar phrase to religious people. I’ve driven through towns and seen it painted on billboards and water towers that Jesus is Lord over (fill in the blank of the town’s name). Most people have referred to Christ as Lord whenever speaking about Him or to Him, but the true meaning of the phrase is one that many who speak it are not necessarily ready to accept. It is a lifechanging declaration.
We’ve been going through a series of studies each week called Preaching Jesus. As the apostles went throughout Judea and, ultimately, the Roman Empire and the world preaching the message of Christ, they declared Him to be the Son of God (God who came to earth as a man) and as the Christ or the Messiah (the One anointed by God as the ultimate prophet, priest, and king). On the Day of Pentecost when Peter unlocked the door to the kingdom of Christ by preaching the first gospel sermon after the resurrection and coronation of Christ, He showed that Jesus was the prophesied Christ and King who had been promised to Israel throughout the ages.
Acts 2:36-38 “”Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.””
Upon the realization of the fact that God had made Jesus Lord and had anointed Him as the Christ, the sin-hardened hearts of the people were melted in remorse. The angry mob that just weeks before had shouted, “Crucify Him!” is now pleading with the apostles, “What shall we do?” When we come to understand and acknowledge that Jesus is Lord today, it will radically change the attitude in our hearts as well.
In our series, we have noted that the modern view of Jesus has been watered down and corrupted. It’s because of our failure to preach Jesus as He is revealed in His word. We have replaced the Jesus of the Bible with a Christ of our own creation. This lower view of Christ has led to a false Christianity today and what the church needs to be reminded of is that Jesus is Lord. That’s more than a phrase or saying. Today, we’ll look into the word of God to rediscover its life-changing meaning.
When Peter preached to the people at Pentecost, he proclaimed that God had made the Jesus whom they had crucified both Lord and Christ. The realization of this truth was transformative for all who accepted it. Last week, we saw the meaning of the title Christ as applied to Jesus. He was the Anointed One of God set forth before Israel and the world as the great prophet, high priest, and king. These offices make Jesus the only means of access to God. That’s why He was declared in Old Testament prophecy and then in New Testament proclamation to be the Christ or the Messiah.
But now Peter preaches Jesus as not only the Christ, but also as Lord. Because He is the Son of God, the Anointed or Christ of God, thus He has been made Lord over all. But what does it mean to preach Jesus as Lord? What does it mean to receive Him as Lord? What are we acknowledging when we confess Jesus as Lord? The word Lord denotes authority. The Greek word is kurios and means supreme in authority, controller. According to Thayer, it refers to he to whom a person or thing belongs about which he has the power deciding or one’s master. Sometimes it was merely a title of respect given to others, but in the case of Jesus, it refers to His great position of authority over all things and all people. Jesus Himself defined His Lordship before ascending back to heaven.
Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
God has made Jesus Lord, as our text says in Acts 2:36. Paul would later write to the church at Philippi:
Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus not only claimed His Lordship, but He demonstrated it throughout His earthly ministry. His miracles not only proved that He was the Son of God and the Christ; they also made evident His Lordship over all things. For example, He often showed that He was Lord over creation. Over nature. The laws by which God keeps the universe running are subject to Christ and His sovereign will. You recall that the disciples were amazed at His being Lord over nature when one stormy night as they were sailing across Lake Galilee and the winds were blowing fierce and the waves were dashing and rolling while Jesus serenely slept in the boat.
Mark 4:38-39 “But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
This was more than a lifesaving miracle. It showed that Jesus was the master of the winds and the waves. Even the laws of physics obeyed Him. On another occasion when the disciples were caught in a storm at sea deep in the night, Jesus so famously went walking to their boat across the water. He had to be Lord over the law of gravity to do such an incredible thing.
He showed that He was Lord over the animal kingdom. Simon Peter was introduced to the wonder-working power of Jesus after he had spent all night fishing upon Galilee. Casting his net time after time after time to catch not so much as a single fish the whole night. But you recall as Jesus stepped aboard the boat, He told Peter to cast out his net again.
Luke 5:5 “But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”
Suddenly, that placid water began to boil and churn as fish from all about began to swarm Peter’s nets. So many were lifted into the boat that it nearly sank. That wasn’t the last time Peter would see such a miracle. One time later when the temple tax collectors asked him why Jesus had not paid His tax, Jesus instructed Peter thus:
Matthew 17:27 “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
This is one of the more quiet, inconspicuous miracles of Jesus, but it demonstrated to Peter His Lordship over the animal kingdom. And yet another occasion involving Peter was when he had denied Christ on the night of His betrayal and arrest. Jesus had told him that when the rooster crowed, he would have denied Jesus three times.
Matthew 26:74 “Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.”
At the very moment that those swearing words of denial fell from the lips of Peter, at the silent command of the Lord Jesus, a single, solitary rooster crowed in the distance. Peter looked and saw Jesus gazing at him, and he knew that Jesus was Lord of even creation. No wonder he could preach with such boldness and confidence on the Day of Pentecost—just days later.
Acts 2:36 “”Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Jesus also demonstrated His Lordship over the powers of hell. Just after He calmed the angry sea that night with His disciples, He came ashore in the country of the Gergesenes and met two demoniacs living among the tombs. These fierce and terrifying demons possessed the men in whom they dwelt and controlled them, but when they saw Jesus, they cried out.
Matthew 8:29 “And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
They knew who Jesus was and they begged the Lord to send them into a herd of swine when He cast them out of the men. They went into the grazing swine and went plunging off a cliff into the sea. Those demons knew that Jesus had power and authority over them and by casting them and other demons out throughout His ministry, Jesus was demonstrating His Lordship over even the enemy forces of sin and darkness.
There is a great picture and hope to be found in that for us today. I don’t believe we’re living in the day of demon possession. That ancient phenomenon was allowed to give Christ the opportunity to demonstrate His Lordship and His ultimate triumph over sin and Satan. What He demonstrated in the casting out of devils while here upon this earth, He has since accomplished spiritually for all those bound by the fetters of sin and enslaved and dominated by the devil. He, as Lord, has the power to set YOU free from sin. He has the power to redeem YOU from Satan’s chains and from sin’s snare. That’s the real reason Jesus came.
Romans 10:13 “For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.””
His is the name above all names, but what does that mean? The name of the Lord refers to His authority. Just like if a police officer were to execute a warrant and demand entrance to your home: In the name of the law, open up! In the same way, there is salvation and redemption and authority in the name of Jesus. We can call upon that authority to be freed from our sins for He has that authority.
Jesus demonstrated His authority to redeem sin when He healed the paralytic in Capernaum. The man was brought to Jesus by his four friends. When Jesus saw him, they lowered him down through the roof.
Matthew 9:2 “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
When Jesus said that, it incensed the Pharisees because only God has the power to forgive sins. They understood that, but you see, God has made Jesus Lord, and Jesus was exercising the authority and power that belonged to Him as the Son of God. Jesus then healed the man and told those watching and the paralytic:
Matthew 9:6 “”But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” –then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.””
Jesus performed the miracle to demonstrate that He, as Lord, has the authority to pardon sin. God gave Him that authority. That’s why Peter later preached this:
Acts 4:12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
That power has been given to Jesus and Jesus alone. It is by His authority that our sins are forgiven. Notice that He told the paralytic that the Son of Man had power on earth to forgive sins. Meaning that as Jesus walked about this earth during His ministry, He forgave the sins of various ones—even in His death upon the cross, He looked over at the penitent thief and promised him entrance into paradise that day when he left this life. Today, Jesus exercises that same power, but He does so in heaven. He executes that power through the means of His will that He left for His apostles to preach in giving them the great commission in Mark 16 before going back to His Father in heaven and assuming His place at the Father’s right hand as King.
Mark 16:15-16 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Friends, that’s how we call upon the name of the Lord. It’s not a prayer or a mourner’s bench. It is acting upon our faith and being baptized into Christ Jesus. Is there Bible for that? Well, you recall what Ananias told Saul when he was to be saved? Paul himself recounted it.
Acts 22:16 “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name (or authority) of the Lord.”
That’s how a sinner who wants to be saved calls upon the name of the Lord. That’s how you call upon the forgiveness that is granted by His authority when you submit to Him in faith by being baptized to have your sins washed away. When you do that, you are redeemed from Satan’s ownership. The title, you might say, is transferred to Christ. Remember the word Lord not only means one who possesses authority, but also he to whom a person or thing belongs, a master.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
You see, when the Lord purchases you in redemption, you become His. You submit yourself to His Lordship. What happened when Peter told the people that God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ on the Day of Pentecost? Well, they humbled themselves. This crowd that had angrily cried for the crucifixion of Jesus suddenly had a whole different attitude and disposition toward Him. Now they are humbled before Him and are ready to submit to Him as Lord and Christ. They acknowledged Him as the Lord, and they gave their hearts and lives to Him beginning with gospel obedience.
Friends, the Christian life is a life of submission and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. For the Christian, it’s not about what I want or think; it’s about what Jesus wants out of my life. He is to be received as Lord of every life. I like the way the Amplified Bible renders this passage:
1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord…”
Colossians 2:6 “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,”
That’s a major sticking point for many of us. We want to call upon Him as Savior, but not so much as Lord. We want the salvation that He offers, but we don’t want to be told how we must live. We might even be willing to acknowledge that He is Lord in the sense that He has power and authority to forgive our sins, but we don’t want Him to take the reins of our lives and dictate the way we live, how we think, the things we do and don’t do.
Did you know that in scripture, Jesus is called Savior at least fifteen times? He is called Christ more than five hundred times. But He is referred to as Lord more than six hundred times. Do you see where God is placing the emphasis? He is the Son of God. He is the Christ of God. But that doesn’t do me or you any good until we’re willing to submit to Him as Lord. How do we treat Him as Lord?
Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?”
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
It’s more than simply saying He is Lord. It’s more than acknowledging that He is Lord of the universe. The question is, is He Lord over YOU? My friend, you can forget having Christ as your Savior if you’re not willing to have Him as your Lord. This is why modern Christianity has become so vapid, worldly, and corrupted. This is why the Christian faith has so little impact upon the daily lives of those who profess to follow it. We don’t understand who Jesus truly is.
He is the Son of God. That makes Him divine. It gives Him the authority of God. He is the Christ, the Anointed of God. Set apart, set forth by God as the prophet we should be hearing and obeying, the priest we should be looking to for access to God, and the King we should be serving and submitting to. Because He is who He is, because He occupies the place God has given Him, He is to be revered and obeyed as Lord. If Christ doesn’t call the shots in your life, if you do what you want to do and live how you want to live, but try to call Jesus your Savior, you don’t really understand who Jesus is, why He came, or the position that He occupies. You don’t know Him. When you know Him, you call Him Lord and you fall at His feet as Lord.
What if I refuse to acknowledge Him as Lord? Refuse to bow and submit? Most of the world is in that position today. We live in a world that is in rebellion to Christ Jesus. This world resists the power, authority, and influence of Jesus Christ. We’re surrounded by friends and neighbors who don’t believe in Jesus the Christ. They don’t live for Him. They resist His Lordship. Consequently, the world is steeped in sin and darkness, causing people to wonder, is Jesus really Lord?
Understand that the sin and rebellion that exists in this world doesn’t stop Jesus from being Lord. His Lordship doesn’t depend on you, me, or anybody else. You don’t make Him Lord and I don’t make Him Lord any more than we crown Him as King. God has made Him Lord. God has enthroned Him as King. He is Lord over you and me whether we like it or not. He is Lord over you whether you admit it or not. Do you receive Him as Lord or resist Him as Lord? That’ll be the great question in the judgment.
Romans 14:11-12 “For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
In that great and final Day of Judgment, the whole earth will stand before Him in all of His majesty. His Lordship will be unquestioned. Every knee will bow and every tongue will finally confess that He is who His word sets Him forth to be. But for many, many people, it will be too late because they refuse to submit to His Lordship in obedience during this life. They live for self and sin. They try to be their own lord and refuse Jesus as their Lord. But He IS Lord. One day, all will admit it. Where will YOU stand when that day comes?
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