Imagine an older child telling a younger, “You need to clean up your room.” Would it surprise you if the younger said, “You’re not the boss of me!” Have you heard this same conversation? This “conversation” is a microcosm of the world at large today. Everyone wants to be their own boss. No one wants to be told what to do.
In Acts 2:22-36, Peter brings his Pentecost sermon to a climax. He had talked about the signs the people saw in the apostle’s speech. He had told them the implication of seeing the signs. He had told them big changes were in store for the kingdom of God. Now Peter reveals what that big change is: Jesus. Jesus is the one who God had always planned to exalt before Israel with signs and wonders. Jesus is the one who God had always planned to die on the cross. Jesus is the one who God had always planned to declare as Lord and Christ by the power of the resurrection. Jesus is the One. God made Jesus to be Lord.
The word translated “Lord” means “owner” or “master.” These are not very popular words given our nation’s painful history with slavery, but words mean what words mean. God made Jesus the Master and Owner as well as the Savior and Redeemer. Those who would follow Jesus are the slaves of Jesus. Christ’s slavery is different from the slavery one man attempts to enforce by violence on another man. In Christ, slavery is a choice – a choice that cannot be forced. We choose to become a slave of Christ, or we decide not to.
Why can Jesus have the title, “Lord”? Because God made it so (Acts 2:36).
There are strong implications of using the term “Lord,” or “Master,” or “Owner.” First, Jesus makes the rules, not humanity. Jesus determines how one becomes His slave. Jesus determines how one becomes a Christian. No amount of theology or philosophy or druthers can overcome this inescapable implication. Second, slavery – Christianity – is forever. If we choose to become a Christian, we must carefully consider that it is a lifetime commitment. Third, slaves don’t dictate the terms of service. We cannot tell Jesus He is our Lord on the one hand, and on the other, disregard what Jesus says.
Being a slave of Christ is a tough choice. But let me tell you about my Master. He is kind and forgiving. He is caring and compassionate. He is loving and gracious. Would you make Jesus your Lord? The next set of verses in Acts 2 tells us how to do just that. I hope you will join me in next week’s column.
This Sunday is our special Friends and Family Day. We are focusing on Jesus as the Suffering Servant. Our Master is Himself a Servant. Join us, 9:45 and 10:30!