Sleep on This: April 3 – the Name above all names
Good evening friend.
There are parts of this COVID-19 journey that are a pain, of course. But there are many aspects of this rhythm that have become sweet to me. Among them is this: my father calls me nearly every day to check on me.
One might argue that it ought to be the other way around; that I, as a good adult son, should be checking on my mom and dad. And once in a while, I beat him to the punch. But mostly, it is Dad calling me. And the call always starts the way that EVERY conversation with my dad starts: he calls me “Son.” In fact, I can’t remember the last time Dad called me “Mark.” It is always “Son.”
And, by the way, I am the ONLY one who can be called that. I am the only “Son” in our family; no one can or ever will claim my title. I am my father’s only son and, barring a miracle of Abrahamic proportions, ’twill ever be so!
In Philippians 2, Paul has just made the astounding assertion that the eternal Son of God emptied himself of his divine prerogatives and come to earth as a human on a rescue mission. That mission took the God-Man to a shocking destination: the cross. BUT, the cross does not have the last word:
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
“…the name that is above every name.” What IS that name? You might quickly respond, “Jesus.” But that is NOT what Paul is saying. The name that is above every name—the title that ONLY Jesus can claim—is “Lord!” “Jesus Christ is LORD!” That is the irreducible statement of Christian faith; the one that cost many early Christians their lives because Jesus, NOT Caesar, was Lord—and they said so.
And here’s the thing I want us to notice: at the name of Lord Jesus, “EVERY knee” shall bow, “in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and EVERY tongue confess…” Not yet. Right now, God permits humanity and all the world to pursue… or ignore… all objects of worship. But one day—one day—God the Father will say, “Enough! On your knees before my Son—YOUR Lord.” And then EVERY tongue will be compelled to admit what has always been true: Jesus IS Lord!
And by the way, the Lordship of Jesus extends to the viral world, too! We may not yet see it. Jesus, for purposes that we do not understand, has not yet intervened. But in this moment especially, we need to claim that greatest of all Christian hopes: Jesus is LORD—even over the coronavirus!
Lord Jesus, we declare you to be just that! With Thomas we say, “My Lord and my God!” Hear our prayers this night as we willingly and gratefully bow our knees before you, lift our voices to you and affirm that you ARE Lord over all—even over COVID-19. Strengthen our faith in that truth, make us brave and speed the day when even this virus will bow before you, our Lord and Giver of life! Amen…and amen.