Luke 6: 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Jesus uttered these words in the early years of His ministry when He was very popular. People were clamouring to hear him teach, heal, perform some sort of miracle. Many believed Him to be the promised, long awaited Messiah. Their minds are filled with magnificent ideas of what Israel will look like in Israel when the Romans are overthrown, peace is restored, and prosperity becomes the norm. Maybe they will rise to a place of prominence in the new kingdom. Who knows the kind of thoughts that have consumed many of the people who are being thrilled by the work and words of Jesus? Who wouldn’t want to get in on that? So they clamour to be known as a follower of Jesus.
As hopeful followers they will naturally call Him “Lord”. 1) “Lord” is a title of respect. It acknowledges that the one called Lord is above you. It means Master. 2) Lord is a title of orthodoxy. Jesus Christ is Lord. To call Him Lord is not overstating the case. He deserves that and more. It is a title of divinity (although it is not likely that the people used it in that sense). 3)The repetition of the word “Lord” indicates that there is passion involved. “Lord, Lord!” There is urgency, excitement, a thrilled heart. 4) It is a title saying that the one called Lord is to be heard, obeyed, and followed. This last one is the one that Jesus addresses. It is easy to utter.
People are calling Jesus “Lord” but they are not particularly interested in doing what He tells them. In relation to this message in Luke 6 that Jesus has been preaching, the people call Jesus “Lord” but they do not produce good fruit. They are hopeful that this is the Messiah but they have no interest in loving their enemies. In fact, they hope for the death of their enemies. Jesus points out the inconsistency. To call Him Lord, Lord and not do what He says is to be deceiving others, the master, or worst of all, yourself.
To say that Jesus is your Master, with some passion, and believe that you are in His good books, and act as if He has no expectations, is dangerous and hypocritical. Jesus compares it to building a house on sand. It will never stand any kind of storm, least of all the storm of God’s judgement.
For a person to say that he believes in Jesus is incredibly easy. Other religions claim that he is great and worth listening to. Cults use His teachings to justify their own errant beliefs. He is well spoken of in a great many circles of people. But He is rarely obeyed. This happens in the Christian camp as well. There are church goers and Bible readers who would never utter Jesus’ name in vain who yet live their everyday lives as if He didn’t exist. The saddest thing of all in this is that they are very confident that when Jesus returns, which they firmly believe will happen, they will be told that Jesus never knew them. Matthew puts it this way:
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
These people claim to have done great things in Jesus’ name. Jesus says that they were “workers of lawlessness”. Even while they were doing their work, Jesus was seeing it as wickedness.
Jesus has very great and precious promises and it is very easy to convince ourselves that we are in on them. But to call Jesus Lord, means, at the very least, that we listen to Him, obey Him and follow Him. Coming to Christ is much more than simply acknowledging that He is God and feeling passionate about Him and believing that He spoke the truth. Coming to Christ is a matter of turning from sin and turning to Him, leaving everything behind, taking up our crosses and following Him. He is not our Lord otherwise.