Thursday, April 22, 2004

"Lord?" or "Homeboy?"...

Is Jesus your Lord? Or is Jesus your homeboy? Or do you think he’s, somehow, both? In various rants I have discussed that the casual attitude Evangelicals tend to show towards the creator of the universe is indicative of our general lack of understanding of His being. Criticisms to my complaints are typically along the lines that I am simply not appreciating the different cultural mores (e.g., hip-hop, or post-modern) present in our world. These criticisms continue despite the fact that I have noted that this lack of reverence seems to show up in virtually all Evangelical circles. As point of fact, though, I have never criticized the sincerity of hip-hop’sters or PoMos with regards to their love for Christ… I’ve just been highlighting particular instances where they lack discretion with their casual attitude. The following comment from Rev. Mike's site kind of sums up the response that I (and Joe @ Evangelical Outpost, and Rev. Mike) usually get on this topic: "I'm not into casual worship but I'm into come-as-you-are worship. There's nothing I can wear that impresses God. I come realizing I have nothing to offer except that I'm clinging to the one who makes me righteous. That's anything but casual. The minute I think a tie or a dress makes someone a better worshipper, I've missed the point." Sigh. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find out how people, who actually knew Jesus while he was here on earth, viewed their relationship with him? Wait a minute! We can! Why not just reference instances in the Bible where people actually interacted with Jesus? For starters, let's take a cursory look at the person who wouldn't have necessarily been considered one of Jesus’ close friends, but would have conversed with him nonetheless. For example:
And a leper approached, and bowed low before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” – Matthew 8:2 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him asking for help: “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible anguish.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed. – Matthew 8:5-8 Then an expert in the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” – Matthew 8:19 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” – Matthew 8:21 As he was saying these things, a ruler came, bowed low before him, and said, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.” – Matthew 9:18 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, shouting, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he went into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” – Matthew 9:27-28 A Canaanite woman from that area came and cried out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is horribly demon-possessed!” But he did not answer her a word. Then his disciples came and begged him, “Send her away, because she keeps on crying out after us.” So he answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and bowed down before him and said, “Lord, help me!” “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” he said. “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” – Matthew 15:22-27 When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire and into the water. – Matthew 17:14-15
Notice any particular pattern going on here? How about those people that we would consider to be among Jesus' closest friends? How did they address him?:
As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And a great storm developed on the sea so that the waves began to swamp the boat. But he was asleep. So they came and woke him up saying, “Lord, save us! We are about to die!” But he said to them, “Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was dead calm. And the men were amazed and said, “What sort of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!” – Matthew 8:23-27 Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.” So he said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they went up into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” – Matthew 14:28-33 When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:13-16 On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is greater than I am, because he existed before me.’ – John 1:29-30 Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” – John 14:5 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be content.” – John 14:8 “Lord,” Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “what has happened that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” – John 14:22 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (which means Teacher). – John 20:16 Mary Magdalene came and informed the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what Jesus had said to her. – John 20:18 When it was already very early morning, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you don’t have any fish, do you?” They replied, “No.” He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they threw the net, and were not able to pull it in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” – John 21:4-7 Then when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus said a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd my sheep.” Jesus said a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” and said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” – John 21:15-17
Now this is by no means an exhaustive search. But the pattern shown should be quite apparent. Like it or not, those that were with Jesus during his ministry here on earth understood the fact that, despite His being human, He was Lord, Teacher, Christ (Messiah), and Son of God. There is no evidence that they ever uttered a cultural equivalent of “homeboy” when addressing or referencing Him.

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