The confession that Jesus is Lord has been at the centre of the Christian faith since its beginning, these next posts will be looking at aspects of that confession. I will commence by looking at the big picture of Christ’s universal Lordship and in succeeding posts I will look at how this applies to various aspects of life and our discipleship.
Jesus Christ is truly God as well as being truly man and as god he is the creator of all things, the Apostle Paul expresses this clearly in his letter to the Colossians,
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
In these verses Paul presents to us a magnificent picture of the person and work of the Lord Jesus. Here he is portrayed in all his glory as the creator God, the one who is supreme above all others. But he is not only the creator he is the one who sustains creation in its continued existence. If he was to cease holding creation together,it would cease to be. Paul could not be more explicit about the power and authority of Jesus Christ. If only we grasped the significance of these verses we would like Paul have a strong faith. It is not surprising therefore that the early church could have confidence in the face of persecution, they knew who was in ultimate control, Jesus himself. The believers prayer in Acts 4 illustrates this for us,
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“ ‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.’ b
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
These early disciple had no doubt who was in charge of history, they made no attempt to curtail the sovereignty of God but rather rejoiced in it.
The apostle John gives us another way to look at Jesus and the greatness of his person, when he describes Jesus as the word of God,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Once again we see the clear affirmation that through Jesus all things were created, this shows us clearly that contrary to Greek though, creation is good. The Greek mentality tried to escape the physical and exalt the spiritual (this is evident in all forms of Platonism), sadly this attitude has infected Christianity. If Jesus Christ is the creator of the universe, then it must be good. This is not to deny the results of the fall but rather to affirm that when the great act of salvation is fully accomplished we will still be created,physical beings. The problem is not with creation as such but rather what humankind has doe to creation as a result of the fall.
When we see that Jesus is the creator it means that we must take seriosly the Cultural Mandate given in Genesis 1,
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Mankind was charged with the responsible stewardship of this earth, ruling here cannot mean exploitation because these word were given prior to the fall. We need to look at the world as the area where we are called to implement God’s good plans for the world. a logical development is that Christians should be concerned about the environment.
We as those who are called to serve God in this broken world should realize that God in Christ is concerned about every aspect of the life of this planet, not just some small spiritual aspect. Abraham Kuyper the great Dutch Theologian, Politician and educator, tirelessly claimed that every aspect of creation should be subject to Christ, we need to make this same affirmation.
This emphasis on the Lordship of Christ over all aspects of reality should stimulate Christians to be involved creatively in the arts, politics, commerce and the caring professions. In all these areas we are called to affirm the claims of Christ. I will return to these themes in later posts.
Finally I think that it is comforting to know that my Saviour is also my creator and the sustainer of the universe, he is mighty because he is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. let the last word go to John the apostle in the book of Revelation,
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, u dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.