Summary: I’ve heard expressions like “my buddy Jesus” or [sic] “Me and Jesus got a good thing going.” Please, do NOT lower Jesus to our level with casual words like those to describe the Lord of all, the Possessor of all authority in heaven and on earth. One day, after Christ’s Second Coming, every knee from all history, willingly or unwillingly, will bow the knee to Him and confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Do that now, daily, in your thoughts, deeds, and words. Don’t think of Him or speak of Him as a “buddy” or casual friend, but regard Him as the apostle Thomas cried out to Him when He saw the resurrected Savior: “My Lord and my God!”
The result? The apostle Paul tells us that “God highly exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:9-11). The Lord Jesus, not “my buddy” Jesus!
Looking ahead to His coming death on the cross, Jesus had anticipated His subsequent return to heavenly glory: “And now, Father, glorify Me along with Yourself and restore Me to such majesty and honor in Your presence as I had with You before the world existed” (John 17:5, Amplified Classic) This is the Jesus we serve today — the glorified Savior, the Lord, exalted to the highest place by God the Father. This is not someone we should trivialize with terms like “my buddy.”
Jesus’ incarnation (John 1:1,14) was necessary for Him to secure our salvation. He left heaven for earth, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, taking on the nature of a servant (Phil. 2:7). While on earth He ministered willingly to mankind in a serving capacity. He said of Himself, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but
Now to our main point. Jesus sacrificially served us by His death, burial, and resurrection. So we can now call upon Him for eternal life. He has ascended back to heaven and sits at God the Father’s right hand. How should we
I recently did an exhaustive study, in the King James Version of the Bible, of every occurrence of the words “servant/serve” and any other forms of the word. The results were illuminating. After His death and resurrection, not one time does the KJV Bible call Jesus a “servant” towards us (or any form of the word). Not once. After His resurrection from the dead He was consistently called our “Lord.”
The apostle Paul, in
Many more examples could be given, but these clearly suffice to show that the post-resurrection Christ was consistently referred to in Scripture as “Lord,” even “Lord of all.” His followers and the New Testament writers never minimized who He is or how we should relate to or speak of the resurrected, ascended Lord Jesus Christ.
Sometimes Christians misread one specific statement of Jesus and — usually conscientiously, I believe — come to a wrong conclusion. And that can lead to an unfortunately casual outlook towards our Lord and Savior. Yes, Jesus did say to His disciples at the Last Supper (John 15:15), “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends...”
The apostle John was an inner-circle disciple of Jesus during His earthly ministry. Along with Peter and James, John often accompanied Jesus in situations where even the other 9 apostles did not. He was very close on a personal level to the incarnate Savior. Many scholars believe that this verse refers to John: “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him” (John 13:23). It seems that of all the disciples, John had the very closest relationship with Jesus. There was, of course, great honor and respect from John to Jesus. But at the same time John had a warmth and closeness with Jesus that would allow him to recline comfortably at the table right next to Him. Now let’s take a look at this same John many years later. Jesus had long since returned to heaven, and the elderly John was in exile for his faith on the island of Patmos. Take a few moments to read and ponder the verse just below, and especially note John’s reaction upon seeing the risen, ascended, and glorified Jesus.
While Jesus walked the earth in His 3+ years of public ministry, John had a warm, relaxed, always respectful relationship with Him. By spectacular contrast, when the now-ascended, glorified Jesus appeared to John decades later on the island of Patmos, the sight caused this same John to faint away and fall “as though dead.” Read again the Revelation’s description (above) of Jesus as He is now, having returned to His pre-incarnate glory in heaven. His eyes were like blazing fire. He held 7 stars in His right hand. His face was like the sun shining brilliantly! The glory, the splendor, of the glorified Lord Jesus was enough to overcome John.
And it should be enough to overcome us today — overcome us with awe, with thankfulness, with worship, and with obedient servants’ hearts toward our magnificent Lord, Jesus Christ. He served us in His earthly ministry and in His death and resurrection for our salvation. Let us now serve Him with the utmost of honor, respect, obedience, and worship now and for all eternity. Our praise should echo that of the millions encircling the Lamb of God and the throne of God in heaven: “
The occupants of heaven worshipfully fulfill the words of Jesus, “that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father” (John 5:23, TLB). That is the highest, and much deserved, level of regard for Jesus Christ. Our relationship to Him should never be undervalued or (God forbid) trivialized. Rather, let us always hold Jesus in the highest honor, “just as [we] honor the Father.”
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©2020, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.