Luke 6:46 (see Matt 7:21-23; 24-27 house on rock, for commentary, John 13:13-17) – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” NIV
Jesus concludes this Sermon on the Plain in the same manner that He concluded the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 … with the parable of the wise and foolish home-builders, comparing them to those who obeyed His teaching and those who did not. In the Sermon on the Plain, He comes right out and asks the question, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” This is a question that He asks to each of us who claim to follow Him.
Lord was a term that was used by the Hebrews in place of the name of God (Yahweh) when they read their Scriptures. It is still used in place of the name for God in most English translations today (LORD). It is a title of authority and respect. The Lord of anything is the one who is in charge … the one to be obeyed. Jesus’ Great Commission to His first followers recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 about making disciples of all nations included the words: “… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” Clearly Jesus expected obedience from His first followers, and He expected those followers not only to share the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection; but to instruct those who believe to follow Jesus’ teaching so that they will mature spiritually and receive the blessings that God intends for them along with advancing the mission of the Kingdom of God.
It is easy to pay lip service to God, to sing His praises during worship services, to plead for His help and intervention in times of crisis, and to testify of His mighty acts. I have found that it is more difficult at times to obey everything that Jesus taught. I have found myself saying, “…but Lord…” While these words appear only a few times in English translations … usually in conjunction with someone questioning either their call, Jesus’ directions that seem to contradict nature, or what the future holds. I could not find the corresponding words together in the original languages. I admit that I didn’t do an exhaustive search; but it seems fairly obvious that someone called Lord was expected to be obeyed. Jesus made it clear to His first followers on the night before His death that He expected it:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:18-27 – NIV, emphasis added)
However, it doesn’t always follow that those of us who call Jesus, Lord, always obey Him; and when we don’t, it affects our relationship with our Lord. According to the above passage, our obedience is a measure of how much we really love God. So what’s a Christ-follower to do when we find this inconsistency with our talk and walk? What is our spiritual reset button? I go to the following verse and apply it:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 – NIV)
God is willing to forgive as we are willing to confess. Some questions to consider: Does my walk match my talk? Are their areas in my life where I am not obeying Jesus? What do I need to confess? For what do I need to ask the Holy Spirit’s help to become more like Jesus?