Affirming Jesus Is Lord
We can affirm ‘Jesus is Lord’ with our mouth, while at the very same time deny and reject him with our actions. When we don’t bring love to hate, joy to sadness, light to darkness, and fail to be instruments of the peace of God we deny the very thing we affirm with our lips. Jesus doesn’t just want people who say, “Lord, Lord,” but people who follow Jesus without turning back.
We affirm ‘Jesus is Lord’ when we love without reason. When we stand up for others, hug a hurting friend, drop a coin in a donation jar, smile at a stranger, and encourage a hurting person we proclaim the Kingdom of God not with words that won’t be remembered but actions that will linger. We declare ‘Jesus is Lord’ when we love the stranger, include the excluded, provide shelter and comfort of the widow and orphan. The bible directs us to love God and neighbor, to work for the good of all and to choose life over death.
At my church, once every year we cancel Sunday services and goes out and be the church. We call it ‘Faith in Action’. This past year a group went to a city park and handed out sandwiches. Another group went door to door to the houses near the church collecting food for a local food bank and another group did repair work on a school and the playground. This is our small way of saying with our hands and feet that the resurrection was and is a real event in history, we want Jesus to live in our hearts, and our hope is that.
The first Sunday of is ‘Faith in Action’ Sunday. Once again, we will go out and be the hands and feet of Christ in a broken, perishing world. You don’t have go to church or call yourself a Christian to affirm the resurrection and proclaim the Kingdom of God. All you need do is “Walk with Jesus,” and by walking you “Learn your sin… learn your salivation; learn the meaning of grace.” (Leonard Sweet)
Rob Bell in Jesus Wants to Save Christians is speaking about the Exodus and the Ten Commandments and writes, “the third commandment, the prohibition not to ‘misuse the name of the Lord your God.’ The Hebrew word for ‘misuse’ here can also be translated ‘carry.’ God has redeemed these former slaves and is now inviting them and the God who made it happen. They are how the world will know who God is. God’s reputation is going to depend on them and how they ‘carry’ God’s name. The command is certainly about the words a person speaks, but at its heart, it is far more about how Israel carries herself as those who carry the name of God. Will she act on behalf of the poor and oppressed? Because that is how this God acts.”
Later Bell imagines God telling the Hebrews how they are to act in light of their liberation from slavery. “It’s as if God is saying, ‘The thing that has happened to you—go make it happen for others. The freedom from oppression that you are now experiencing—help others experience that same freedom. The grace that has been extended to you when you were at your lowest—extend it to others. In the same way I heard your cry, go and hear the cry of others and act on their behalf.”
Just as the Hebrew’s were to pay it forward, so are we Christians to extend the same love and grace lavished on us in Jesus to those we encounter on a daily basis. There is no one we are to reject or restrict from the love and grace of God. People should see us and want to be Christians because of the joy, compassion, hope, and faith they see in us. We need to love those that the world finds unacceptable—to extend the good news to those who only know sorrow, hostility, and exclusion. We should stand up for love and grace and tell the world we will not let a single person to go hungry, unloved, unprotected, or friendless. We should not create division, but build bridges that unite and encourage others to be all that they are meant to be.
This is what it means to declare ‘Jesus is Lord’.
This is what it means to proclaim that the tomb is empty.
This is what it means to affirm the resurrection.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:19-21
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