Michael Ramsey once said: “God is Christlike, and in Him there is no unchristlikeness at all.” It is essential that our minds remain fixed on God as Chistlike because we so easily slip into thinking about God apart from Christ leaving us with an abstract and remote God. We think of God as Almighty. Jesus is God among us in the form of one who is weak. We assert that God is Eternal. Jesus is God among us in time tasting death. We exalt God as the Most High. Jesus is God among us in deepest humility. Jesus is The Holy One standing in the place of a sinner with other sinners. He is the one in whom we behold the Glory of God and yet he is covered with shame. This is the Lord, the true lord, who has taken the form of a servant in order to serve his Father and us. As such, he turns upside down all our thinking about “The Divine Being”.
God took this lowly form in Jesus because of his eternal decision. Before the creation of the world the Father elected his unique Son to take the form of a lowly servant with us and for us. And so Jesus, the Lord as lowly servant, fulfils God’s eternal decision to be with us and for us as one of us. He is God’s eternal decision made actual forever.
Now, with Luther, “we must look at no other God than this incarnate and human God.” And we look at him this way knowing that this is the way that God wants to be known in hearts full of wonder, love and praise.
The salvation of the Lord comes into the world rescuing us from all the false lords that enslave us. No one is ever without a lord. Each one of us is what we are because of the lord’s we serve and the power of these lords over us. And so, The Lord comes in person to bring about a liberating change of lordship from the lordship of the world’s dark powers to that of the true Lord. The rescue comes in Jesus who is himself the liberating Lord. In weakness and humility he wins the battle against sin, death and Satan and we are set free.
As the New Testament writers describe Jesus this way they trust that he will continually bear witness to Himself as Liberating Lord. They don’t want others to accept who Jesus is because of the way they describe him, but only because Jesus declares himself as liberating Lord in unity with his Father. By the Spirit, Jesus has encountered them as the Liberating Lord whom the Father has now exalted and they simply point to who he is. And so, as they proclaim Jesus to others they count on him encountering their hearers in the Spirit as Liberating Lord.
We too have come to know Jesus as our Liberating Lord who sets us free from all the powers that once enslaved us Now we are free to serve him as Lord in newness of life. That is true freedom!
The Jesus story portrays the life of a human among humans. He lives and moves with other humans doing all the natural things humans do. Nevertheless, the story shows that he is different from all other humans. He isn’t simply portrayed as a better human. For there were moments in the story when other humans respond to him as to Yahweh, Israel’s God. Furthermore, his resurrection declares that this man who is the servant of humanity is also their Lord. As the Lord of all other humans he has full authority to condemn them or to pardon. He has full power to call them and bind them to Himself. He has full sovereignty over each person’s existence and all human history
By the Spirit, the Father draws us to his Son so that we now confess, “Jesus is Lord”. We have come to know that Jesus is head over all things and the one who rules over the totality of our existence. Nevertheless, by the Spirit, we know that he is not Lord in the way we might naturally expect. What distinguishes the man Jesus as Lord is that he draws near as the one who serves. We naturally think of a Lord as one who is distant standing over others and requiring them to serve him. But this man who is our Lord and God encounters us by his Spirit as the one wants to be servant of all. He is not distant, but nearer than we can ever say.