Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself … and jumped into the water. [John 21:7 CEB]
New Testament scholars generally agree that the confession, "Jesus is Lord" occupied a prominent place in the churches of the New Testament era. In fact, that phrase is the earliest confession of faith in Christianity. You can say that “lord” is an unfamiliar word in our society today. We typically only hear the word today in religious contexts. Outside of religious contexts the word “lord” conjures up images of days gone by or medieval times of a feudal society, where lords were the ones who were the proprietors of a manor.
So, what is meant when we say, “Jesus is Lord?” Well, that is the question we must answer for ourselves. Simply put, when we can say that Jesus is Lord it is to acknowledge that in Jesus all authority exists. Jesus is the supreme authority. At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells His disciples after His resurrection to wait for Him in Galilee. Then He came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus has supreme authority. Yet, what does that phrase mean to each of us? Does Jesus have supreme authority in our lives? For to say so involves a great surrender of control.
I like the way that Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, puts it. Sometimes all of us, whether we like to admit it or not, treat our relationship with Jesus as, what Stanley says is, a “Backpack Jesus.” He says that we often carry around this “Backpack Jesus” with us. Wherever we go, Jesus is right back there. Then we just take Him out wherever we go and pull Him out whenever we need something. “Thanks for helping Aunt Martha with her surgery.” Then we put Him back in the pack. And not even think of Him anymore—unless we need Him.
We put Him away because maybe there’s something going on that we don’t want Him around for. It would be too uncomfortable for Him to see what we are doing so we just leave Him back there.
“Jesus, I’m going on a trip this weekend, knowing what usually happens, I think I’ll just leave you back there.”
We pull Him out to ask for traveling mercies. But then back in the backpack He goes. We don’t want to have to think about Him this weekend. Don’t want our fun to be impaired by clogging our mind about whether what we’re doing is right or wrong, or if we are dealing with people in a Christ-like way. Or if we are thinking about the poor.
“But if something happens when I need you, I know where you are and can pull you out. And I’ll decide when and where I want you to be in my life.”
Confessing that Jesus is Lord means trusting Him in all areas of our life at all times. Looking to Jesus for direction in our lives. Professing that Jesus has all there is of us. We totally surrender ourselves to His trusted authority. To confess that Jesus is Lord is to confess that He has the adoration of our heart—authority over our will and all the influence of our lives.