I see a trend that is a bit unsettling to me, and I feel compelled to respond to it. The trend is Christians speaking of Jesus as boss in lieu of Lord. Particularly, I’ve seen several posts from preachers talking about the people they are baptizing, who have “made Jesus the boss of their lives.” Why say “boss” instead of “Lord”? There are only two possible answers: Some may believe it easier to stomach—not as confrontational—and some may believe it to be an illuminating equivalent, helping people understand Jesus as Lord. Comparing the biblical truth of Jesus’ lordship with the modern understanding of what it means to be a boss, I do not believe they are equivalent, and we should not be concerned with it being more palatable.
In His Word, God is blunt with the truth of Jesus’ lordship. He does not finesse this truth into our consciousness. Rather than easily nudging us into an awareness of this truth, He firmly confronts us with it. Following are some points from Scripture to show this.
Jesus commands the winds and the waves, not merely work to be done.
23 But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. 24 They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. 25 And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?” (Luke 8:23–25*)
Yes, indeed, who then is this? This is the critical question that must be pressed into the conscience of everyone we lead to Him. Even as professional fishermen, the disciples were at the end of their abilities. Despite all of their frantic efforts, they were overcome by the elements. But the elements were overcome by Jesus. With a word, He compels the elements to do His will, at will, in the moment He decides and decrees, without delay. There is no process He must work through or incantation He must repeat. The laws of physics must obey Him, not the other way around. If He has such command of the wind and the waves, what does that suggest about His command of us? No mere boss can claim such command.
Jesus holds the worlds together, not merely a place of work.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15–17)
2 In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:2–3)
Therefore, Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth. His sovereignty extends out to every corner and down to every atom of creation. Our existence is in His hands—hangs on His word. With a word, a mere boss can give or take a job, but with a word, Jesus can give or take our very being. Reality is at His disposal—at His service.
Jesus is infinitely, transcendently more than a mere part of making a living.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
9 “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 5:24; 10:9–10; 14:6)
Jesus is not a guide along the spiritual road to the way, the truth, and the life. He Himself is the way, the truth, and the life. Apart from Him, there is no way to go but wrong, no truth to know to get right, and no life to truly live. He is the one way to, the incarnate truth of, and the only life with God the Father. Separation from Him is to be dead to God and face only the second death of hell in eternal separation from God. A mere boss can help you make a living, but can never, like Jesus, give you life—eternal life beyond the grave and abundant life in Heaven with God.
Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth to commission your entire life, being with you always, not just when you clock in.
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)
7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:7–8)
We Christians live to make Jesus known. Rather than being only a part of life for us, all of life fits into the Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations as His witnesses. The Great Commission defines and directs Christian life. If Christian life is a river, the Great Commission is the riverbed. We don’t clock out of it or retire from it. We live until our callings within it are complete, then, the Lord takes us home with Him. I have often said that I don’t live to work, but I work to live. To the contrary, however, regarding why we still live on this earth after being saved, we don’t witness to live, but we live to witness. And we witness of Him even while He lives with us. A boss sets the agenda for the job he or she is over, but no mere boss can set such a holistically defining agenda for your entire life, while living with you at that. A boss that wants to move in and take over your life is a weird tyrant no one wants to work for. But if you want Jesus as your Savior, you must receive Him as Lord who will do just that.
Jesus commands who you are, not only what you do.
51 “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.” (John 6:51–57)
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Romans 13:14)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. (Colossians 2:6)
For Jesus to save you, you must consume and be covered by Him, not merely affiliate with Him. Salvation is not in conversion to Christianity as a religion, taking Jesus as your religious leader and moral example. It’s not merely in taking His name, but in taking Him, so that who He is forever changes who you are. He must indwell you and infuse His nature into you—His character onto you.
Jesus owns you, rather than employing you.
37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6:37–39)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11–14)
17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:17–19)
Jesus saves people to make them His own people that belong exclusively and eternally to Him. If you are of Him, you belong to Him, having been redeemed by Him. And the price He paid for your redemption, from lawlessness and the coming wrath of God, was Himself. He shed His blood and gave His life to give you life. You were on the block for slaughter, and He laid Himself down to be slaughtered in your place. Therefore, He has laid claim to you for God to be glorified in you. No mere boss has this claim on you. Even in situations of slavery, a master can only possess the body of a slave, not the spirit. As a Christian, you belong to Jesus in this life and the life to come in Heaven.
Jesus breaks one down to redesign, rebuild, and redirect.
42 Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’? 43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” (Matthew 21:42–44)
14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Corinthians 5:14–15)
6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith… (Colossians 2:6–7)
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him… (Colossians 3:9–10)
You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
People are either broken on or crushed by Jesus—broken unto salvation or crushed in judgment. Either way, self will be shattered. For salvation, self must be shattered and reformed into the new self. Jesus is gathering and renovating His own people that live exclusively and eternally for Him, gladly emptied of the self-willed rebellion that defined and drove them before. No mere boss can command such a cataclysmic end to self-determination.
Jesus sits on the throne of God, not in an office chair.
“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31)
Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34)
He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. (Hebrews 10:12)
[He] is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. (1 Peter 3:22)
Being the Son of God at the right hand of God, all that is true of God is true of Jesus. As God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and, so, absolutely sovereign, so is Jesus. As God challenged Israel, so, Jesus can challenge all in the world today: “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?” (Isaiah 66:1) No mere boss can speak from such a position of absolute transcendence.
Our words already fail to capture Jesus’ majesty and magnificence, therefore, when speaking of Him we should not deliberately use language that communicates something less than the language of Scripture. He does not need our help with being approachable. We must lead people to understand the wonder of His condescension in His Divine transcendence, as well as His worthiness and requirement of worship as Lord of heaven and earth. We must call them into the awe that He should inspire in all, for them to be amazed and overjoyed that He turns away none that come to Him.
Saving response to the Gospel is not about making Jesus boss because the concept of a boss does not come close to encapsulating the truth of worship and devotion. Nor can anyone make Jesus Lord. We that live for Jesus have not made Him anything. He is Lord over all regardless of all. Having new hearts that revere Him, rather than rebelling against Him, we that He has saved have simply and essentially bowed our hearts to the truth of Who He is. He is Lord, and He has made us His own so that He is our Lord, loved more than all, exalted above all, and worshipped in all—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. (1 Timothy 6:15)
The men of Issachar understood the times and knew what Israel
(1 Chronicles 12:32)