It’s no secret we live in a time where the name, person and authority of Jesus Christ is often defamed, dishonored and disrespected. In the world, He is the punch line of jokes. His name is frequently muttered in vain. The thought of his very existence is scoffed at and mocked. He’s commonly portrayed in mainstream media as weak, unassuming, unintelligent, and even effeminate – all in the name of “comedy” and “entertainment”. If His existence is genuinely acknowledged, it’s often confined to the life of a good man or prophet that lived and died 2,000 years ago – but not the Son of God. Sadly, this is the only picture and perception many people have of Jesus Christ. But this stands in stark contrast to the unique glimpse John gets of Christ on the island of Patmos in the opening chapter of Revelation.
Revelation 1:12-16 (NKJV):
“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”
Even though John had spent much time with Christ on earth as a disciple and close friend (even seeing him transfigured), this glimpse of the Lord in all His glory caused John to fall down as if he were dead. I find this reaction to be a compelling testimony of the true power and authority Christ has been given.
This probably isn’t the typical mental imagery we get when thinking about Christ. It’s often much easier and more comfortable to think about Jesus as the gentle Lamb of God rather than the glorified Christ; the lowly carpenter’s son rather than the exalted Son of God. But the description given in the passage above is of great value because it shows Christ as He truly is today. He is pure. He is powerful. He is glorious. He is eternal. He is Almighty. Simply put, He is Lord.
This is a fact that must be acknowledged and embraced before one can truly accept Christ. While some popular false doctrines teach that you can accept Christ as your Savior while not submitting your life to Him, Romans chapter 10 suggests otherwise.
Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
“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.”
This verse is often used out of context to suggest that confessing and believing in your heart is all that is required for salvation. We can see from other New Testament teaching and examples that there are other things such as obedience, repentance and baptism that are involved as well. Rather, this verse seems to point out the important prerequisite that we acknowledge Christ as Lord. If we can’t come to grips with that fact, obedience and baptism seem to be a useless conversation. If we don’t recognize Jesus as Lord, how will we submit to him as such? Jesus seems to drive at this point Himself if Luke 6:46 when He asks, “But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?” I don’t find in the Bible a scenario where it is possible to accept Christ as our Savior but not our Lord. It’s simply critical that we come to this realization, and that we come to it before it’s too late. In Philippians chapter 2, an inspired Paul writes:
Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV):
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus Christ left glory and humbled Himself by taking on the form of a man and taking on the sins of the world at the cross. As a result of His submission, God has highly exalted Him. He is Lord. And at Christ’s name every knee should bow and every tongue confess as much. The question is will we do it by faith or as a result of sight? Back in Revelation chapter 1 we’re promised that the glorified Lord will come again with the clouds and that every eye will see Him – even those who pieced Him. At that time there will be no doubt that He is Lord. It says that all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. What a scary thought to realize you hadn’t recognized the Lord until it was too late. But it doesn’t have to be so. When Christ saw John fall down before Him He said: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” It is comforting to know our Lord has such power and authority when we’re found in Him.