Jesus Is Lord! -- By: Morris Inch

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 15:3 (Summer 1972)
Article: Jesus Is Lord!
Author: Morris Inch

Jesus Is Lord!

Morris Inch, Ph.D.*

The fundamental confession of Christianity is that Jesus is Lord. The meaning of that conviction is the subject before us.

* * *

To begin with, we must go back to a scene which has become distorted by time and tradition: “To think again the first Christian’s thoughts about Jesus one must be prepared to enter a strange world. Mentally the reader must cross five thousand miles, nineteen centuries, and an even wider gulf of ideas.”1

We might wonder if the hard journey is really necessary. Yes, it is. The nineteenth century lives of Jesus failed at this very point. They turned out to be little more than an author’s projection. There resulted as many jesuses as there were biographies, while the real Jesus failed to come through. Apart from the discipline to weigh the historical record seriously, we can expect to do no better.

What do we find upon arrival back in the strange surroundings of a yesterday obscured by unfamiliar mores and familiar words rended from context over the intervening years? The first thing is that Jesus taught with authority, in contrast to rabbinic custom. The Hebrew was the first great history people; he used the past to chart a responsible course for the future. Precedent was critical for such a venture. Without it, the past would be lost, and man destined to repeat his follies. With careful concern for precedent, progress could be assured. So, the rabbis tied commentary to decision and decision to commentary, a growing body of documented wisdom to guide man’s steps.

Then Jesus came, teaching: “It has been said of old, but I say to you.” The rabbis were offended, and the people astounded. Jesus taught as none other, with an authority assumed by His relationship to the Father. Time has eroded the shock of the Nazarine’s presumption. Tradition has made it commonplace. We must go back to feel the impact of a bearing which transcended the need and expectation for human corroboration. We must consider the unique impact of Jesus’ authoritative teaching.

°Professor of Bible and Apologetics, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

The next thing we observe is that Jesus assumed peculiar prerogatives. “The Temple, the unassailable and impregnable seat of socio-religious authority, must have provided parasitic priests and middlemen with an effective shield against any nonviolent popular protest. It was Jesus’ attempt to smash this shield, as part of his larger enterprise of presiding over the Kingdom of God in defiance of the Roman power, that set in motio...

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