Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
Do you sing hymns, or worship songs, in church? Do you pray in church, or before your meals? How do you pray? What do you start the prayer with? ‘Lord’ is a term we modern Christians have come to view in exclusivity. There are some words that are, while not officially so, obviously Christian vocabulary, and perhaps it’s just a little bit arrogant of us to view ‘Lord’ in the same manner. What’s more, we love this word, don’t we? We use it all the time. Instead of the names of God, we say ‘Lord’. Instead of God, we often say, ‘Lord’. When we pray, we often use this word as a connector between different sentences. It’s funny how naturally we do it. It is a term that seems to draw us closer. Makes us feel closer. Often, when we meet with trials and tribulations, we often cry out, ‘Lord, Lord!’ Jesus rebukes the people for calling him ‘Lord’, and crying out to him, but not doing as he commands. In this study, we will examine the significance of the term ‘Lord’ and what handing our lordship over to Jesus means.
Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ – We call Jesus our Lord. Our Master. Our Teacher. Our Redeemer. Our Saviour. Many things. It’s not wrong to acknowledge him as our Lord. But often we forget that ‘Lord’ is not a name, or a meaningless title. There is great significance behind calling anybody, ‘Lord’. By calling Jesus our Lord, we are acknowledging his lordship over us. By calling Jesus Lord, we are handing the lordship that we love to keep for ourselves to him. By calling Jesus Lord, we’re establishing our Servant-Master relationship with Jesus. Perhaps some of us only call Jesus our Lord when we’ve bumped into a roadblock in life and we need supernatural interference. Perhaps we only want to give our lordship over to him only when we no longer know what to do – only when we no longer have anything left that we can do. Jesus’ rebuke reminds us to search our own hearts to check our own intentions and motive. Most of us Christians probably do call Jesus ‘Lord’. But what are our intentions? Are they genuine?
and do not do what I say? – this is sobering, isn’t it? While on one hand we call Jesus our lord and pretend as if we have handed our lordship over to him, but in reality, our behaviours and actions prove that we have not truly handed our lordship to him. How do you know if a person has truly handed over his lordship to Christ? It’s easy – see if that person is doing as Christ commands. Perhaps the following verses, though first remarked by the Lord to the prophet Ezekiel all those years ago, still apply very aptly to us: My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice [Eze 33:31-32]. Don’t we all do that? Don’t we all sit before our pastors and preachers to hear their words, and consider it an obligation done, since we do not put them into practice? Don’t we often speak of love but desire for unjust gain in our hearts? Don’t we treat our worship sessions and our Christmas celebrations as merely occasions when we listen to each other sing love songs with beautiful voices and people playing various instruments well, for we sing those songs but never truly mean them?
There really isn’t too much difference between us and the followers of Christ 2000 years ago. There really isn’t too much difference between us and the Jews from the times of the prophets. Time may have passed away, but God’s words, somehow, still relate to us. Straight after remarking about this, Jesus went into the parable of the wise and the foolish builders. Let us not be a foolish builder. Let us not build our faith without a foundation. Let us not deceive ourselves by simply calling Jesus ‘Lord’, but never handing our lordship to him, and never following his words.