“Jesus Christ is Lord.” This is the definitive statement of Christianity. Without this, Christians have nothing to say to anybody about anything.
This creed is the ultimate confession of what all Christians everywhere believe about Jesus. However, unpacking the meaning and implications behind this statement has been complicated business.
Unpacking “Jesus Christ Is Lord”
Originally this statement was made in a world in which Jesus Christ could not be Lord. They had a guy named Caesar for that. Caesar was Lord of all the world. Anyone claiming otherwise would soon be extinguished. And not surprisingly, that is exactly what happened with Jesus, along with many of His earlier followers who confessed that their crucified leader was Lord.
To confess Jesus Christ is Lord was seen as the ultimate political statement.
To confess it means you could no longer simply go along with the world and the way Caesar did things. It means new allegiances. It means someone other than Caesar was in charge and calling all the shots, and we must ultimately bow before someone else.
In confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord, Christians insisted that Jesus Christ was now in charge of the world, and that their crucified Lord had been given all authority under heaven and on earth.
Such means that men everywhere must now change the way they do things. They must, if I might sound old fashioned, “repent.” The old authorities didn’t like hearing this, and dealt with Christians by means of violence, as Jesus was seen as a threat and rival to the power of their kingdoms.
Jesus Christ As “Personal” Lord And Savior
Of course, not everyone recognizes Jesus Christ as Lord. Many of the Jews did not. Neither did many of the Romans. And neither do many people today.
And today, we tend not to get very insistent that Jesus Christ is Lord when it comes to the realm of politics.
We’ve had a separation of church and state for many years now. Overall, humanity has thought the mixture to be a bad one, full of abuse and corruption on both sides. We’ve thought it best to divide the political and spiritual realms, because they seem to mix as well as oil and vinegar.
Now today Jesus is relegated purely to the “spiritual” realm by many. Jesus Christ is no longer seen as Lord of heaven and earth, rather, He’s seen merely as our “personal” Lord and savior, and the king of a purely spiritual kingdom.
Such is a cute and safe statement. I’m pretty sure nobody ever got crucified for that.
Today’s blog post isn’t meant to fully flesh everything that could possibly said on this topic. It’s complicated business. Business I hope to further unpack in the near future in an upcoming podcast I am doing next week with St.TheosaurusRex, who has a political science major, and a Masters of Divinity.
Suffice to say, for now, I believe we as Christians really need to rethink what it means to say that Jesus Christ is Lord.
I believe that is not merely a confession of something spiritual. For if it is, then we risk the chance of being hijacked and led astray by the political climate of wherever it is we find ourselves. In America that usually means making a choice to be a Republican, or a Democrat.
I believe in confessing Jesus Christ is Lord, we are going to find it hard to get along with either side of the political divide. It might even make many of us feel politically homeless.