“And Thomas answered and said unto Him [Jesus], My Lord and my God.” John 20:28
So, it seems like “forever” in a wonderful way that I’ve been digging into the idea of what it means to You, Lord, for me to believe. And that was such a wonderful journey in Your Word that will continue into forever. And though I stop looking at that specific word, as I continue to read Your Word, and meditate in Your Word, and obey Your Word, I can’t help but to understand more and grow more in believing Your way. And today, the verse we’re looking at is sandwiched in between verses about believing. But I can’t help think that the two words Thomas utters here are so foundational to faith in You, that this attitude is the rock bottom of Messianic/Christian belief. I can’t help but believe that this is what being “the called out” is all about.
Sometimes I wonder if we look for You to be God our Savior without looking for You to be God our Lord. Or maybe You can be our Savior, but we’d prefer You just be lord. And we think to have You as one is to be fine. But it’s not. Either we trust all of You as God or we really don’t trust You at all. Listen to James, because I only have to offend in one point to be guilty of breaking the whole law. Do I really think that’s the only place that precept applies? That’s like acknowledging Jesus as a good teacher, but not God. Well, if He’s not God, then He wasn’t a good teacher either, because He was a liar. But You are a Good Teacher and You are God. You are Lord and You are God. You are Lord and You are Savior. I’m not the first to think this. I’m sure you’ve heard this quote that originated with S. M. Zwemer, “If Jesus is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all.” It’s true.
But what was Thomas really saying here. What does it mean to be Lord or to be God? What’s the difference? I mean, we don’t even understand the concept of Lord really today because our government is so totally different than in Biblical days. For me to understand, I have to dig into the Word. I have to dig into another culture. I have to look into the people’s lives. I have to search into the heart of God. And if I search, I’ll find what I’m looking for. You, Lord, promise that.
So I want to search into Lordship. If I cry out, “My Lord!” what am I saying? Lord is from the Greek word “kurios”. It’s all about supremacy. For those of us who don’t think about “supremacy” much, here’s what Noah Webster had to say about it, it’s the “state of being supreme or in the highest station of power; highest authority or power.” So here is Thomas, crying out to Jesus, and this is important, to JESUS, “My Lord and my God.”
I want to hop around a little more, because in my searching I’ve hit upon something that is really exciting to me. I’m going to start at 1 Corinthians 1:2 which is where Paul is saying, “to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” Now, isn’t Thomas calling upon the Name? Isn’t that what You want me to do? What does that mean and where did this thought originate?
Well, this was not a new thought to Paul. He didn’t just come up with this idea, but He was solidifying the truth and bringing it to completeness. Let me share how. We need to travel back to Genesis 4:26, because this idea began in Hebrew thinking that long ago. “In those days men began to call on the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26) I’m going to borrow from Skip Moen to help us understand, since He has a deeper understanding of the Hebrew than I. “In the name of the Lord” “is an expression of ownership. It is not simply a request for divine assistance. In ancient cultures, no god would grant favor to someone who did not first offer worship. So when men began to call on the name YHWH, they were in effect designating that YHWH was their God. They were His servants.”
OK, so to call on the name is to give God ownership of yourself, your everything. It’s true worship. But realize what this meant for Paul or Thomas as they were saying this, in a culture where only God is God.
Because “no orthodox Jew, especially a Pharisee, would ever suggest [this] unles something startling had happened. Paul does not say that his phrase of technical ownership, this phrase implying the object is God, is applied to YHWH. He says that we call on the name of Yeshua [Jesus]. Unless Paul has suddenly become an idolater, there is only one possible explanation for the use of this term here. Yeshua [Jesus] must be God!”
So when Paul calls Jesus Lord (kurios), he is considering Jesus the One, the Supreme Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; the One True God. And he was not afraid of this truth. Paul could say, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain!” It’s like saying that Jesus, You are the One who controls my life. You own it. It is Yours to do as You will. Why? Because You are the One that gave me life and gives me life and keeps me alive. You are God. You are the meaning and the power of life. You are Life.
So I must recognize that You, Jesus are Supreme. You are God. You are Sovereign. You rule. There is none above You. I must realize what Paul and Thomas realized. I must submit to You and in You. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks. It doesn’t matter what the people around me think. What matters, is who You are, and acknowledging the fulness of who You are in my life. Until I do that, I am lost. I can’t be halfway there. You are an all or none God. You must be my Lord and my God.
Believing in You Your way is absolutely radical. It has nothing to do with my church membership. It has everything to do with my radical acknowledgement of who You are and who I will let You be in my life. You must be my Lord and my God or You are not. I need You as my Lord and God or I am empty. I need You as my Lord and God or I am powerless. I need You as my Lord and God or I cannot see my way. I need You as my Lord and God or I am without a supporting, encouraging family. I need You as my Lord and my God because I will never come to know the fulness of what You intended for me because I will never know You.
See, some of us have the whole process backwards. We try to put God into a mold that He fits into for us. We take the King of the Universe and treat Him as though we can sit Him in a corner until we need Him. Well, here’s the truth. You may be sitting someone in a corner, but it’s not God; it’s some false image. We aren’t capable of doing that because God can only be God. If that’s the case, who are we really worshipping? Well, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to worship a self-made idol. I want to worship You, Lord, in all Your truth and majesty and power and love and sovereignty. I want my life to cry out My Lord and My God. You are more than my Savior. You are ALL I need for every moment into eternity. As matter of fact, I want to cry out MY LORD AND MY GOD because it’s who You are and who I know You as. I can say like Paul, “I KNOW WHOM I have believed, and I KNOW that HE IS ABLE to keep me and to keep all His Word.” My prayer is that others can say that too, that they can know whom they believe. And that our lives will be constantly molded in Yours.