It’s all Greek to me

via Daily Post: Translate

Imagine living for three years with someone where you slept just feet apart; ate every meal together, walked everywhere you went, as your group of 13 traveled from Galilee to Judea and back again.  Imagine seeing the leader of your group doing miracles, hearing Him calling your name personally to follow Him, and knowing the miracles He performed clearly authenticated the claim He made of Himself to be the Promised One, the Anointed, the Messiah.  Imagine living this way among a people who’s culture was being ripped apart by Roman occupation and law.  Listening daily to the words of your leader, it would have been an easy leap of faith to want this powerful man to be the new King of Israel, and remove the pagan laws from your land.  So they did.  To a man, each of the disciples Jesus hand-picked, believed not in the pie-in-the-sky kingdom far into the future, but in an imminent establishing of a new nation of Israel in Jerusalem.  Jerusalem after all was the city of God.

Now imagine each of these men watching their leader being dragged off in chains.  Imagine their confusion for Judas kissing Jesus on the cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane, being taken by the Temple Guard, and hauled off for a mock trial in the middle of the night.  Having spent all those long hours with their Rabboni (Great Master), the huge storm clouds of doubt and despair descend on the group of 11.  Judas has gone and hung himself for his misguided attempts at forcing Jesus to act immediately.  Jesus is being taken to Caiaphas, Peter’s stands by a fire trying to get warm, John finds Mary and tries to offer comfort, and everyone else scatters, thinking they could be next.

We have no context for this life, or for even beginning to think we understand the nature of their confusion demonstrated by their actions.  You and I are not challenged today in these ways, and it was a road to be traveled by only 12 hand-picked men anyway.

So, what’s the point?  The narrative I’m trying to paint for you is one that has a few key elements.

First, when they chose to follow Him, the faith in Jesus these men exhibited is one of complete abandonment of any previous life-choices.  This would be the very definition of the Greek word κύριος (koo’-ree-os) translation: Lord or Master.  Today our closest English variation might be “Sir.”  These men forsook everything to follow Jesus; family, friends, businesses, life stability, just to sit at Jesus feet and listen to Him teach.

Second, Jesus continually was surrounded by thousands of people in crowds, all gathered as word spread of His teaching, and miracle-working ministry.  At one point, looking at the masses of people, Jesus said, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]  If the 12 men who were hand-picked didn’t understand half of what Jesus said and did, after all the time they spent with Him privately, what’s to cause us to believe those on the fringes, hearing Him only one or two times, could even partly comprehend His message, purpose or intentions?

Third, we can only have context for the meaning of the word “LORD” if we step back and stop laying our 21st century interpretations on a 1st century document (the Bible).  Here’s a verse we like to quote:

Philippians 2:9-11
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What’s the reason?  See, that’s the real question.  What is the actual reason every knee bows, or every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord?  We do such an injustice when we translate these scriptures in 21st century contexts.

The REASON that Jesus is LORD is because:

Philippians 2:5-8
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Obedience is the best and clearest example of why Jesus is Lord.  Even to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The LAST point of my narrative is, until we see Lordship as something more than occasional church attendance, sporadic giving to ministry or charity, or passing out water at the 4th of July parade… we have completely lost the message in translation.  Jesus is Lord not because I “make” Him Lord of my life.   Jesus IS Lord.  My only choice is to serve Him or not.  My choice is to completely vacate my preconceptions of what it means to serve Him, and follow His Spirit leading me into uncharted waters.  Jesus is Lord whether I see Him walking on water or not.  My obedience, to His command of my life, will be the only determining factor for the world to see … He is my Lord.

Let me try to translate for you one more time… you can hear it if you will…

Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

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