God’s Word for You
Luke 6:46 Lord, Lord.
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, February 2, 2018
The Wise and Foolish Builders
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
Jesus summarizes everything he has been saying by speaking now to everyone within earshot, including his own disciples. Why would anyone call someone ‘Master’ or ‘Lord’ and not obey the master? This would be true of any human master or employer. But to call Jesus “Lord” and not obey—this is a sin against the First Commandment, not to have any other gods. To call Jesus “Lord” and not accept him as God says, “I don’t believe in you, Jesus.”
The word translated “Lord” here is the Greek word Kyrios (κύριος). Our word ‘lord’ is far more common in British English than in American English, since Great Britain still uses the title for anyone elevated to being a peer of the realm, many of which form the House of Lords in Parliament, Great Britain’s congress. However, “lord” can also be a polite way of saying “sir.” What Jesus says here is clearly different. His statement would be meaningless if he meant, “Why do you call me ‘mister’ and then fail to do what I say?” But in the New Testament, the word “Lord” recalls the Old Testament practice of calling God by the title Adonai “Lord.” This was so commonplace, that when the Jews stopped using God’s name Jehovah (Yahweh), they replaced it with “Lord.” When this happens, we spell the word with all capital letters, LORD, such as in Genesis 2:7, “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” Jesus’ disciples understood that Jesus is the Son of God, and therefore equal with God the Father. He told them, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Now, consider Jesus’ words once again. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” This is an accusation from the Almighty God that we don’t do what he says. This is God judging us to be sinners. And more than that. Jesus shows us that to commit a sin, any sin at all, means that the sinner rejects God and throws himself out of God’s presence. This is why we need the gospel so desperately, so urgently, and so frequently. This is why we need to keep getting into church to hear the forgiveness of sins proclaimed to us in the absolution and in the sacrament. When we recognize how sinful we are, we despair. But God’s hand is never withdrawn from us. His loving, saving hand is always there, ready to catch us, holding on to us. His mercy surrounds us and doesn’t let go of us, and we are his forgiven children—sinful, rebellious, stained, and disobedient, but forgiven. And so we remain, forever his.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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