“So you will be saved, if you honestly say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe with all your heart that God raised Him from death.”
I’m pretty sure that verse is nothing new to you. You’ve heard it before and you like it – believe it. Now let me put it into context for you and help you understand what it would have sounded like if you were a 1st Century Christian.
When Paul wrote this book of the Bible, he targeted both Jews and Gentiles who were living in Rome, which meant they had to live under the laws of the land – the rule of Caesar. Anybody and everybody were allowed to keep their gods and religious practices, but they had to recognize that Caesar was above them all. He was top dog.
So, for the early Christians to say, “Jesus is Lord,” caused a lot of kickback. Roman rule said otherwise. Caesar was to be attributed with the highest calling and he was to be given total rule, not Jesus. Saying, ‘Jesus is Lord,” was looked upon as treason and was punishable by death. These early Christians had a big decision to make. If they were caught saying “Jesus is Lord,” they knew the consequences, and they were willing to risk it.
How much different does that look to us who live in a land of freedom where we can say anything we want and worship anytime. Our brand of Americanized Christianity is so much different. We go to a church worship service where everything is decorated and contemporary and we’re even given a cup of coffee (nothing wrong with that), where we do rituals that lead us in worship (nothing wrong with that either), where we hopefully have a spiritual encounter with God (definitely nothing wrong with that), and then go back to the rest of our daily life until we can get our next dose of Jesus (NOT OK at all!). What we’ve done is moved God to nothing more than a pit stop in the middle of our frantic, fast paced, most often, hectic life.
When we say, “Jesus is Lord,” what we’re really saying is: Jesus take over every part of my life – You rule, You govern, You control, dictate and manage me. I no longer am my own. I submit to You.
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today
This might seem easy say, but please understand, it’s a total commitment – total surrender of self to the One who died for you. You’ll never regret making that decision. There is only One who deserves our full attention. He is the Lord of all – His name is Jesus.
We praise You and give you all the glory and honor. Jesus, it is to You alone that we give our full allegiance. You are Lord! It’s in Your name we pray, Amen.
—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.