The Lordship of Jesus
By Mike Johnson
Disciples of Jesus are people with a message to communicate. The message we have is one about a man who walked among us, shared in all things human, suffered and eventually was crucified. Yet, though he shared our humanity, he was the powerful, magnificent Son of God, commander of angel armies, of infinite worthiness and wisdom, sharing equally the nature of God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He was the one who upon paying the debt of our sin through his death, was raised and exalted by God to the highest place and given all authority in heaven and on earth.
From this position he today directs and governs all things in accordance with the purpose of his will and is asking, through his messengers, for all people everywhere to become his disciples by repenting of their sins and surrendering wholeheartedly and unconditionally to his lordship in their lives (all by faith). As author and Bible teacher Jerry Bridges declares, ‘Whatever other meanings we may include in the word disciple, it must capture this idea of coming under the reign and rule of Jesus Christ.’
“Whatever other meanings we may include in the word disciple, it must capture this idea of coming under the reign and rule of Jesus Christ.” ~ Jerry Bridges
What might this look like? A story from the ministry of Jesus might help with this. We find this story in Luke 7:1-10.
Jesus is approached by a Roman centurion who appeals to him to come and heal a highly valued servant who is about to die. Centurions were officers in the Roman army who commanded up to a hundred men. They were strong leaders and comfortable with authority. This particular centurion, though a foreigner and member of a conquering army, loved the Jewish nation in which he worked and promoted the Jewish religion, building a synagogue in Capernaum.
The centurion had been informed about Jesus and sends some elders of the city to him to ask him to come to heal his servant. These elders strongly urge Jesus to come with them because of the centurion’s good works and generosity. Jesus agrees to go.
Now, however, the story takes a remarkable turn. Suddenly this man of authority sends a second delegation of friends to stop Jesus from coming! Why? What did he understand that caused such confidence?
It had to do with His insight into the secret of Jesus’ identity and into the authority derived from it. We have here a man who had a key role in a structure where all authority belonged to the Emperor and was then delegated to his agents, like his military commanders. He knew what it meant to give orders and be given orders. He had personally exercised power to make things happen. So, if he told one of his soldiers to do something then it was done. The delegated authority of the Emperor was his to use. Similarly, he knew what it meant to be given orders from a higher command and the obligation he had to obey quickly.
… Jesus was no mere healer and miracle worker.
Unlike any other person Jesus had met, this man understood that Jesus was no mere healer and miracle worker. Somehow, his understanding cut through the outward appearances of Jesus’ ordinariness to his greatness. He saw something more than others did about this man who was a carpenter, a friend of fishermen, tax collectors and sinners. He recognised that Jesus’ authority was that of God Himself. If he gave a word of command, it was done and nothing on earth could stop it. To defy Jesus was to defy God. His Word held the power of life and death, of creation and healing. So, he says in effect, “Lord don’t trouble yourself by walking any further. I’m not worthy anyway to even have you in my house. You’ve indicated your willingness to answer my request, thank you, just speak Lord and it will be done.”
This response amazed Jesus. He contrasts it with the faith of his followers and that of the people of Israel who were the focus of his ministry and admits that this was the greatest faith he had seen despite it being that of a foreigner who did not have the advantages of a heritage like his followers had. Even the disciples who had left everything to follow him had not come to conclusions about His identity that exhibited expectant faith like this.
“… just speak Lord and it will be done.”
Is your life exhibiting attitudes and actions based on an understanding of and genuine submission to the authority and greatness of Jesus Christ?
May there be many in our day who would have faith and humility like that of the Roman Centurion and experience the power of Christ in our lives and ministry for the glory of God.
*First published in Compass, Autumn 2021 edition, Newsletter from the Australian Navigators.