One of the things I used to say when I was an expert on parenting (before I had children) is that I would never say “Because I said so.” I swore to myself that I would never be like my parents when I would incessantly question them about why I had to do what they instructed me to do and they would say, “Because I said so.”
But then I told my eldest daughter to do something that seemed like a no-brainer to me. I told her to brush her teeth. She said, “Why?” My response, because I didn’t want to go into the explanation of why we should brush our teeth again and if we don’t they’ll rot and fall out, was a curt, “Because I said so and I am your father.”
One of the greatest weaknesses and fallacies of the western Church today is that we seem to have lost the idea that God is our Father. Father is a loaded word for many people, I understand that. But just because you or I have had a bad experience with our earthly father doesn’t mean that we are then required to have a problem with our heavenly Father.
Our so-called faith in the Western Church is all about us and what makes us comfortable. Oh, the term Father makes you uncomfortable because your own dad was broken and sinful? Okay then, we’ll just accommodate your sensitivities and bow to your wishes and stay away from such toxic words as “father.” It’s kind of ridiculous.
Another thing we’ve lost in the western Church is the authority of God. For us, Jesus has become our friend, our “lover”, our homeboy even. While Jesus is a friend of sinners and entirely accessible and kind and loving, He is also the risen and ascended King of glory. We forget that to our great detriment.
Let me illustrate.
Jesus’ disciples walked with him, lived with him, laughed and cried with him for three years. They say Jesus in His most human and in His most glorious and divine nature. After He was raised He appeared to them. John’s gospel records something that I want to talk about.
“After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28, NASB)
This is important. Thomas recognized Jesus for who He was; the risen Lord, God and King. Did you notice that? None of the other disciples voiced this, only Thomas.
Here’s what I’m trying to say.
Jesus is our friend, yes. Jesus is our elder brother, yes. Jesus is the lover of our souls, yes. Jesus is kind and merciful and loving and all those things. But He is also the risen King of glory. His power and authority are absolute.
His power and authority are absolute.
It really doesn’t matter if you agree with that or believe that. It is true, regardless of your belief or my belief. And because that is true, because Jesus has absolute authority (Matthew 28:18), we must give Him our undying trust and obedience and love.
We don’t get to say no to Jesus.
All throughout Scripture, God/Jesus/Spirit is asking and commanding people to do things that are vastly uncomfortable for them. I’m reading through Ezekiel right now if you need an example. God regularly asks of His people, His children that they do things they don’t want to do. After all, Jesus did what He did not want to do. He went to the cross, He suffered by taking on the sin of the world in a way that we cannot possibly fathom. But He did it willingly. Why?
Because it was the will of the Father.
Because God said so.
The sooner we embrace God’s absolute authority in our lives, the sooner we have peace. I’m not saying that what He asks of you or me will be comfortable. In fact, the Bible bears witness repeatedly that following Jesus will probably be distinctly uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean we get to say no to Jesus and what He says because we crave our own comfort more than Him.
Let me be clear:
Either Jesus is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.
Either we are obeying Jesus or we are not. His power and authority are absolute. We need to stop qualifying our obedience and trying to bargain with God based around a selfish desire for our own comfort. Our obedience to God’s will in our lives is based solely on who He is, not how we feel about our choices.
Jesus is the risen and ascended King of glory and we obey because He said so.
Soli Deo Gloria!