If Jesus is Lord
God chose the Roman Empire to be the setting for the central scene in his salvation story. The banner cry of this Empire was clear enough.
“Caesar is Lord.”
And then, the gospel. The Kingdom of God was established within the kingdom of Rome. And it came with its own counter cry.
“Jesus is Lord.”
The meaning of this may be lost on us. But it certainly wasn’t lost on the early Christians.
Who is Lord?
The apostle Paul writes to Roman Christians:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
This is a verse we might just stick on our fridge. To the Roman Christians, it was a fearful reminder of their calling.
They were asked, ‘Who is Lord?’. To which some of the first Christian martyrs responded, ‘Jesus is Lord.’
To say ‘Jesus is Lord’ was to say ‘Caesar is not.’
The gospel was dangerous. It went against the unquestioned culture, politics and views of the day. And it’s the same today.
The gospel is a declaration of Christ’s rule over our modern culture - the heart commitments and attitudes that are simply assumed.
If Jesus is Lord, I am not. If Jesus is Lord, the will of God trumps my personal choice, my right to be ‘true to myself.’
If Jesus is Lord, his word shapes my world. Even the controversial stuff he says about hell or sexual ethics.
People may say we’re losing out on our best life.
But we haven’t lost. The gospel is the King’s victory cry. So we ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
That’s another way of saying with our early brothers and sisters, “Jesus is Lord.”