The early Christians were persecuted by the Romans not so much for their religious beliefs, but for their refusal to declare Caesar as “Lord.” The pledge of allegiance in the Roman Empire was Caesar ho Kurios (Greek – “Caesar is Lord”). Author R.C. Sproul, Jr. writes:
“Tens of thousands of Christians went to their death because they confessed the first creed of the church — Christos ho Kurios — Christ is Lord. They knew where their citizenship lay. If His kingdom is to come in greater fullness in our day, if His will is to be done in these United States as it is in heaven, then the church of Jesus Christ must learn where they are citizens. For His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Amen.”
If you are a member of the body of Christ, with Jesus as the head, then Jesus is the only Lord we Christians can declare our allegiance to, since we belong to a different empire – the kingdom of God.
During the Nazi regime in Germany, Adolf Hitler also required that the citizens pledge their allegiance to Him. The Pledge of Allegiance, “Heil Hitler” was accompanied by a stiff-arm salute. Failure to do so brought imprisonment or even execution. I wonder how many Christians today would be willing to declare Jesus as Lord knowing that it could cost them their lives?
Nevertheless, the apostle Paul says that Jesus must have “first place” in our lives in everything:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy [first place]. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” – Colossians 1:15-20.
Human Caesars and dictators may claim to be the supreme and ultimate rulers (some even claimed to be gods), but Jesus has always been “before all things,” and He must have first place in our hearts and our lives. He is the Lord of all lords, and the King of all kings. All the fullness of the one true and living God dwells in Jesus, and He alone deserves our supreme allegiance. Amen.
– Pastor Luis Yosefus
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