Well Easter is over, for some of us it was all about the chance to have a break, for many of us the week was filled with at times frantic activity connected to church. In our worship services, we thought about, stood in awe of and celebrated Jesus life, death and resurrection, the foundation of our faith as Christ followers.
In the aftermath of Easter, I am left with a couple of questions, SO WHAT? NOW WHAT? What difference does it make? What are the implications of Easter? What are the practical implications for us that there is an empty tomb in Jerusalem?
As I have been reflecting on that over the last couple of days, I think I have come to a conclusion. The implications of Easter for us can be summed up in just three words “JESUS IS LORD” (in fact its just two words in the Greek of the NT but we get an extra word for free in English.)
I had to study the Creeds in theological college, these are quite complicated statements which sum up what Christians believe (and don’t believe) More liturgical churches use them in worship and they can be helpful to us in evaluating if something that has been said or written is authentically Christian or not. Those words JESUS IS LORD are actually the very earliest Christian creed, the earliest summary of what Christians believe.
Bruxy Cavey unpacks their implications when he writes
“By fully understanding and embracing that Jesus is Lord we are transformed. Accepting this fact radically changes our understanding of God, which in turn changes our understanding of our world, our lives, our values our identity and our potential. All from these three simple words: JESUS IS LORD.”
Bruxy goes on to make what I think is a significant point, that the first generation of believers didn’t sum up what they believed by saying “Jesus is SAVIOUR.” They realised that its only as we embrace Jesus as Lord, that He also becomes our Saviour, its package deal. Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, you can’t have one without the other. Sometimes we have given the impression you can accept Jesus as your Saviour and then choose at a later date whether you fancy having him as Lord. The first Christians instinctively knew that was not option, Jesus can never be reduced to a means to an end, just a golden ticket to the afterlife.
In this week after Easter I want to draw out the implications of Jesus being Lord for two groups of people.
Every living creature has a birth, every fire starts with a spark, a light needs to be turned on to shine. In the same way being a Christian has a starting point. Here is how the New Testament describes that starting point
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[ 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10
Paul says that the spark that ignites our spiritual lives, that brings us alive spiritually, what the Bible calls “salvation” is when we trust the story of Jesus, that He is who He claimed to be, and that His death and resurrection really did happen and because of that we can have a new relationship with God. (that’s what Paul means when He says “justified”) When we trust that to be true inwardly and outwardly say openly that Jesus has become our forgiver and leader in life, ie JESUS IS LORD, we are “saved.” According to the Bible, not going to church, or being a good person or not as bad as the other people but “Declaring with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead” is how we are saved. When we do this, we step over the line of faith, we become part of God’s people and as we thought on Sunday evening our past is forgiven, our future is guaranteed and we have a purpose worth living for in the present.
So, I need to ask some of you a question? As a result of Easter, have you come to believe Jesus is Lord? Do you believe that He died and rose again to save you from your sin and to give you a new life? If not what is stopping you? I said on Sunday Easter changes everything, has it changed you?
For some of us,, probably most of us, the implications of Easter might not be accepting that Jesus is Lord, it may mean living more consistently with Jesus as our Lord. Saying Jesus is Lord is saying He is the ultimate authority in your life, He has final say and that you are committed to obeying Him. This is what discipleship is all about, living out the Lordship of Jesus in every area of our every day lives. Saying that Jesus is Lord doesn’t just enthrone Him over our lives it deposes other things from having ultimate control in our lives. When we live as Jesus as our Lord, money, naked ambition, love of power, greed, etc no longer have lordship, ultimate control, over what we do. Bruxy Cavey, whom I quoted from earlier helpfully says that when we say Jesus is Lord, we are saying He is our Master and Mentor in life. If Jesus is Lord, He has final authority in your life and is coaching, showing you, how to live, as you obey His teaching and follow His example in our day to day, and our hour to hour lives. Well, is He? Are you living with Jesus as your Master and Mentor in life?
Easter shouldn’t just be about a busy week or a chance for a holiday, it has implications which will transform our lives for eternity. For some of us the implications of Easter are that we need to accept Jesus is Lord and make him our Leader and Forgiver and for some of us it means learning, in the power of the Holy Spirit to live more consistently with Jesus as Lord, as our Master and Mentor in life, in every area of life, not just some.
If you would like to chat about any of this drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or see me on Sunday