I was recently reflecting on a previous teaching series given in our fellowship, which I called “Who Do You Say I Am”. A question which Jesus asks of us all. The series is constructed around the response of Jesus to Peter’s answer and to his confession of Him as the Christ when Jesus replies, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”.
It is from this response we understand that the church is not, nor has ever been built upon a man, not on Peter… but upon the believer’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, which is revealed not by the natural, not by flesh and blood, but is received spiritually as divine revelation from God the Father. The series then goes on to consider a number of examples of those who have received that revelation and call Jesus “Lord”.
The woman caught in the act of adultery is just one example. After those who would have stoned her had left, when Jesus stood from writing in the ground, He asked her “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” To which she replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more”.
The Centurion who came to Jesus in Capernaum was another example, as when He pleaded for his servant, He said to Jesus “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And although some may try to say that in referring to Him as Lord, the Centurion was simply being polite, (such as calling Him sir), I think not, because of course, the whole basis of the account is that the Centurion recognises the authority under which Christ is operating and as a Roman officer is able to empathise with the Lord… And therefore the response of Jesus is to marvel and say “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” before He goes on to add “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And of course, the servant was healed that same hour.
And although there are other examples, I ought at least to mention the criminal convicted and crucified alongside Jesus, who having acknowledged His own crimes as being worthy of death, said to Jesus “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
On Sunday (28th June 2020), as I begin a new series “Lessons from the Upper Room”, I shall remind those who listen to the message of these examples. However, I shall also bring to light the fact that there was one sat at the supper table with Christ and the Apostles who was never able to call Jesus Lord… Judas Iscariot.
In John 13:13 Jesus says “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am”. Then later in the chapter we find significantly that both John and Peter do indeed prefix their subsequent questions by calling Jesus Lord.
When identifying His betrayer, John encouraged by Peter to find out more, leans back on the breast of Jesus and says “Lord, who is it”?
When Jesus says “Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you”, Peter says “Lord, where are you going”?
In fact, in the Matthew 26 account, when speaking of His betrayer, the word says that they were exceedingly sorrowful and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord is it I”, with the exception of the one who was the betrayer who said “Rabbi, is it I”… You see in regard to calling Jesus Lord, this is a lesson Judas never learned. He called Him ‘Good Master’ and he called Him “Rabbi”, but he never called Him ‘Lord’.
Why is this important? Because Romans 10:9-13 says: -
… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Have you confessed Jesus as Lord? Judas knew Him. Judas even followed Him up to a point. But having never confessed Him as Lord, when Satan came into his heart, Judas betrayed Him. If you desire to follow Jesus and remain faithful to Him to the end, you must be able to call Him Lord… and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
I pray that the Holy Spirit may come upon you and that you receive divine revelation that you might know Jesus for who He is… King of kings and Lord of Lords to the glory of God the Father… Then we can all proclaim together... Jesus Christ is Lord!