MANY CHRISTIANS are still being persecuted in some parts of the world today.
Say I was stranded in one of these nations and a police approached me for he discovered I am a pastor proselytizing the locals and said, “I am cutting off your tongue. And before I do, you may say one last sentence.”
“Jesus Is Lord!” is what I would say.
Now, if he would allow me a second sentence then I will surely say, “Please don’t kill me!” At least I had already declared the first one!
Jesus Is Lord
This is the capsulated version of Christianity’s statement of faith, “Jesus is Lord.” The Fathers of the faith in church history went through such great lengths just to be able to separate truth from the prevailing falsehood, help believers get a good grasp of their faith in a manner that they can easily understand, and be able to share to others. They are what we know today as (besides the Chalcedon Creed and the Nicene Creed) the Apostles’ Creed.
Do or die
Declaring “Jesus is Lord!” in the Philippines today would cause people to give you a religious label. But during the time of Jesus, it would mean martyrdom. With Rome as the prevailing empire at that time, the word ‘lord’ has an imperial usage. There’s only one lord— Caesar. On the other side of the coin, among the Jews, it had a religious connotation. Only Jehovah is Lord. So for them, to insinuate that there’s another Lord is incomprehensible.
When someone says, “Jesus is Lord“, that person is declaring two inseparable natures of Christ: perfect righteousness and unlimited power.
1 John 1:5 says, “In him there’s no darkness at all.” He takes charge of the universe with perfect righteousness.
His perfect righteousness, though, without his unlimited power to carry out that righteousness would render him not worthy of worship. And people of the earth could not be guaranteed justice.
While on the other hand, unlimited power without perfect righteousness would make the center of all things to be unrighteousness. And no one, as in no one, could do anything to change that. It would render Christ as tyrant and abusive in his leadership.
But thanks be to God that while in his humiliation he was named ‘Jesus’.
Matthew 1:21: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
He accomplished that through the cross.
That’s what we call the gospel.
My good friend Rice Broocks has this to say to summarize what the gospel is. (I hope I can write it out of memory.)
“The gospel is the good news that God became a man in Jesus Christ. He lived the life that we should have lived. And died the death that we should have died. After three days he rose again from the dead proving that he is the son of God. And offering the gift of salvation to those who will repent and believe the gospel.”
In his exaltation, he was declared by the Father as ‘Lord’.
Philippians 2:9-11: “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 should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Seriously, if I would be given a chance to speak again before the police would cut off my tongue, what would I really say?
I would just repeat my first statement.
“Jesus Is Lord!”
Ferdie Cabiling is the director of Victory Metro Manila, and a member of Victory Philippine’s Apostolic team. He is married to Judy, father to Elle and John Philip. You can like his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.