The agape God

“Jesus is Lord” is a strange thing to say in our modern post-rational world. It’s like saying, “I believe in the Easter Bunny.” Which is fine for a kid. But for a grown adult? 

Yet it’s been plastered on endless bumpers, t-shirts, and greeting cards. The phrase has become so tired that it’s lost its meaning. 

“Jesus is Lord” made a lot more sense to the first Christians who were under the boot of the Roman Empire. Loyalists of the Caesars (the Roman Emperors) would proclaim, “Caesar is Lord!”

But the first Jesus followers had something else in mind. Their lord wasn’t one of dominance and right-handed strength. No... Their Lord surrendered to violence and died to it. Everyone thought he was just another casualty of the empire. 

Until, a few days later, he showed up to some of his wayward friends in the flesh and did what he always did. He invited them to eat. He showed them that the true God was not the military might of Caesar. In Jesus, God emptied himself to that power, rose from the grave, and said... “Let’s eat some fish.” 

Jesus didn’t reveal a God of death or punishment. He revealed a God who beat death and punishment to show that coercive force never has the last word. 

Jesus is Lord.
Not Caesar.

After he died, his friends continued the meals. They were called agape meals or ‘love’ meals. They’d invite pagans, Christians, Jews, gentiles, men, women, children - all were welcome. 

Skeptics turned up. “Are you guys serious? Jesus isn’t Lord. He’s dead!” 

But his friends knew better. They invited the skeptics to a meal. In the middle of the table, they’d place bread and a jug of wine in remembrance of what Jesus shared with them during his last supper. They’d go around to make sure people’s rent was paid and material needs were taken care of. They shared their shortcomings and joys with each other. 

They had... Communion. 

This is the God that Jesus showed us. The God of agape. Of communion. This God never interferes with violence, but rather absorbs it into his body. A God of redemption who loves the living. And the God of resurrection who does the darndest things on the other side of the grave. 

I’ll say this is truer than true.
Jesus is Lord.