Sean Palmer writes about Jesus is Lord.
Jesus, Peter, and Paul were tortured by the state because they would not deify the state! They said, “Jesus is Lord.”
“Jesus is Lord,” was never simply a private commitment governing personal ethics centered around the nuclear family. When Paul tells the Colossians that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God,” he is spitting into the face of the god who was visible everywhere, Caesar. What the contemporary church misses when we say “Jesus is Lord” is that those words, all by themselves are a slap in the face of worldly political powers. All of them! When we are baptized and declare “Jesus is Lord” we are determining that we stand against any and all powers that are in any way antithetical to the will of Jesus, including our own choices.
Yet by the standard of the first Christians, our modern proclamations of Jesus fall woefully short. When modern Christians say “Jesus is Lord” we mean it in a privatized, insular way foreign to the disciples. What we mean is that from this point on I will make particular personal commitments regarding how I organize my life. I will try to live with integrity, character, and personal ethics. It’s spiritual veganism.
Claiming Jesus is Lord has become something we do because we choose to make some tweaks to better our individual moral code. Mind you, this isn’t bad. When Christians are able to live up to our stated goals, the world is made a better place. But that’s not nearly close to what it means to call Jesus Lord. Rather, the claim that Jesus is Lord means we reject everything and everyone who attempts to place him or herself in lordship. I worry that we no longer believe Jesus is Lord — at least not in the politically-threatening, turn the world upside down way it did in the early days of the church. To state it bluntly, the politics and priorities of Jesus have become subservient to the platform and priorities of our chosen political parties.