This much is certain, dead He was, this Jesus the Christ, so admits even the most determined skeptic, refusing to trivialize the impact of the man Jesus upon the human condition. And absentee masters are easily ignored, especially when their absenteeism is the by-product of death, a long-term condition rarely overcome. But this is no ordinary master, and death, try as it may, could not sustain its hold on Him as the power (dynamei) of the Spirit of holiness resurrected Him, releasing Him once and for all from the clutch of death. So comes this silent declaration by the Spirit, void of vocabulary, needing no words to proclaim, “Son of God!”
His presence speaks volumes of silence for all those who encounter Him, stunned by the encounter of One who was surely dead and gone. Spoken words can never persuade one’s surrender of personal autonomy and so the folly of many a sermon, thinking words about Jesus a suitable substitute for an authentic face-to-face encounter with the Risen King. But only an encounter with the Risen Christ can usher in Lordship. And that encounter changes everything. The servant suddenly becomes the slave.
And so Paul’s striking announcement for those trekking after the Serving King, “… our Lord” (kyriou). Lord introduces an unexpected descriptor of this Master who claims for His own all those who have encountered Him in the midst of a flurry of words from those bearing witness of their previous encounters.
Lord is a term of profound respect toward one who rules over every dimension of the servant’s life, a term easily distinguished from master, a vulgar term acknowledging the reality of unwanted subjection. But this is no unwanted subjection. This is the ‘King’ whom the prophets longed to know. Lord is an insider’s term of endearment pointing to one’s deep desire for subjection to One who will give oversight and direction to every facet of life. He is no mere master, He has become ‘Lord’. And this Lord has come to give life and give it abundantly. Abundant life is the fruit of Lordship.
Only an encounter with the Risen King can produce Lordship in the life of those trekking after the Serving King. And once encountered, life can never be the same.