Guest post by Michael Kelley.
Is it possible that our notion of the lordship of Jesus has been influenced by an American commitment to democracy?
That’s a mouthful of a statement, isn’t it? But since we, at least in
the country where I’m writing, find ourselves in the midst of an
election year, it seems to fit. So think with me for a minute about the
nature of elections. In an election, we choose our leadership. We cast
ballots, and the winner of those votes becomes the leader. The one that
we follow for the next four years.
All political views aside, then, the President of the United States,
because he (or she) is elected by the people, serves at the will and
pleasure of those people. The people are the boss of the leader, at
least in theory.
But to call Jesus “Lord” is much, much different than that.
It’s not so much a choosing as it is a recognition.
When sin entered the world in Genesis 3, God was not deposed as the
rightful ruler or the universe. He wasn’t chased away at gunpoint,
forced into exile by a band of more powerful mutineers. God has never
given up His rule and reign; humans, in our sin, have simply chosen not
to recognize it. Becoming a Christian, then, isn’t so much “making”
Jesus your Lord as it is recognizing the rightful rule of Jesus over
So why does it matter? Isn’t this just a question of semantics? Why take up valuable viral space on an issue like this?
The reason it matters is because recognizing, rather than making,
goes to the heart of what it truly means to call Jesus “Lord.” If we are
“makers” rather than “recognizers,” what happens when the Lord makes a
decision about the course of our lives that doesn’t seem to make sense?
That doesn’t fit with our design? That causes us discomfort or pain or
If we have “made” Him Lord, then we might well have the same reaction
as when the President makes a decision we don’t agree with. We protest.
We carry signs. We look forward to the next election, promising
ourselves that we can choose someone different next time. And if that’s
the case, then I would question:
Who’s really the boss? Is it us, those who “make,” or is it the Lord, the One who is “made”?