Last week I asked who Jesus was to you via a poll. To be fair, I should say the poll was set up to purposefully limit the response to a single word, even though Jesus often plays more than one of these roles at the same time. Kudos to you who used the “other” block to say Jesus was all these things… and more!
Here’s how the poll turned out:
Other: 4 (answers included Comforter, Teacher, and 2 “All the above!”)
But why did I ask… and what was my theory?
What’s in a Name?
Jesus has many names to us. You could probably add to the list above easily. But all these names of Jesus share a common thread: they are action names. In other words, Jesus is known as Healer… because he heals. He is Savior… because He saves, etc.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve noticed an awesome trend in prayer where people will first name the attribute of Jesus, and then pass along their prayer request (e.g., “Jesus, you are Provider… I pray you will help ____ find a job and provide all that their family needs.”)
I think Jesus would be pleased with that prayer… and I think it’s good that we recognize what Jesus is capable of as we pray. It’s a great reminder that Jesus is bigger than whatever issue we’re facing.
But as I was studying the debate between Pilate and the Chief Priests in John 19, I began to notice a trend in my life. I wonder if it’s true for you also?
If you’d like lots more detail, you can listen to the sermon (“The Sign of the Cross“). But let’s cut to the chase: Pilate writes that Jesus is the King of the Jews…. the leading Priests disagree:
“And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”” (John 19:19–22 NLT)
What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, for starters, if Jesus really is their King, their lives are about to be turned upside down… all over one word: King!
And that’s what got me thinking.
Get vs. Give
I began to wonder, how many times do I call out names of Jesus based on what I can get from him?
- I get healing from the Healer
- I get provision from the Provider
- I get saved by the Savior
- I get… kinged by the King?
Not so fast… I don’t GET Kinged… I SERVE the King. I give to the King. As I reflected on my prayers over the last few years I detected a pattern:
I ask to get a lot. Very seldom do I ask what I can give… to my King.
How might the world change if we included that in our prayers? For starters, I’m thinking my world might get turned upside down! Perhaps I would want to utter the same argument as the leading Priests… “No, write he said he was my King” so I can continue to do whatever it is I want to do.
Yet… I can’t help but wonder if we might see a glimpse of “His Kingdom Come” when we start calling Jesus King… and more importantly, when we start living as though he were.
Your Kingdom come… Your will be done… on earth, as it is in heaven.
My Lord… my King… let it begin with me!
- What difference would it make in your life if you focused on Jesus as King? What difference would it make in your community?
- What would keep you from calling Jesus King? Why?
- Is it wrong to call Jesus those other names (e.g., Healer, Provider)? Why or why not?
- Is there a difference between these two statements (and if so… what)? Does it matter what order?
- Jesus is healer… and King
- Jesus is King… and healer
- Do you have to give to the King before you can get (e.g., healing, saving, etc)?
- Want to try an experiment for the next month? Pick the level that works for you:
- CRAWL: Write, “Jesus is King” in a prominent place that you will see throughout the day. Record what would be different if that were true. Would you act differently? Would your life change? How?
- WALK: Write the same as above, but resolve to give Jesus one area of your life for the next month until Easter. Maybe you’ll give him your time… or your talent… or your finances to do whatever he wants to do as King of that area. Record how your life and the lives of those around you were changed.
- RUN: Write the same as above, but invite a partner to help you stay accountable to the area you’ve given to Jesus as King well beyond Easter, until it becomes a lifestyle. After you’re comfortable with Jesus having that area as King, pick another area you can give to the King!