Poor Moff Jerjerrod. Dude’s just trying to get the second Death Star project completed on time while dealing with a shortage of resources and manpower. A moon can’t be built in a day, but that’s basically what his superiors are asking of him. On top of those expectations, Jerjerrod has to cut work short for hundreds of his men so that they can stand in a hangar while Darth Vader arrives. Do you know how much overtime pay costs and how much of waste it is to have men just standing there to watch a shuttle land?
As soon as Lord Vader landed, though, Jerjerrod knew who was in charge. That scene in Return of the Jedi is forever etched in my mind, having watched it probably 100 times. Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie I saw and that image of the Imperial shuttle opening and revealing Darth Vader still gives me a few chills. There was no doubt that Lord Vader commanded the respect and fear of everyone gathered in that hangar.
If Jesus had walked into that hangar and declared that he was actually Lord, then all the Stormtroopers and Imperial officers would have known what was going on. Jesus would have been challenging the authority of Darth Vader. Jesus would have been claiming that his will and desires were more important than those of the Emperor’s apprentice. Jesus would have been asking for the allegiance of everyone in that room as the true Lord of all.
Unfortunately for us, because we don’t really have any practical application for the term “lord,” some of its meaning gets lost on Jesus. We are quick to call Jesus Lord and Savior, but rarely do we think about the full implications of that statement. We understand what it means to call Jesus Savior because we’re all very aware of our sins and our shortcomings; we’re all pretty clear on our need to be saved.
However, when it comes to calling Jesus “Lord” we don’t really have a frame of reference. Perhaps we think about medieval times when lords and ladies would sing Queen at jousting events. Maybe we even think of a show like Game of Thrones when lords were the upper crust of society who rarely lowered themselves to interact with the common folk. When talking about Jesus as Lord, though, most of those understandings fall short.
In Acts, Paul proclaiming Jesus as Lord flew in the face of Caesar and the Roman government. Caesar was the one true lord, the person who ruled the Empire and directed the lives of all of its inhabitants. Jesus’ early followers would have understood that and made the choice to claim Jesus as Lord instead of Caesar. Even though the Roman government could have had those early Christians killed for their allegiance to Jesus, they understood that the power to take someone’s life didn’t make Caesar Lord of that person’s life.
We don’t have a Caesar ruling our lives today or even a Lord of the Sith watching over our shoulders. Instead we wrestle to give Jesus’ the lordship of our lives that we ourselves have claimed. We don’t want anyone to be lord of our lives except for us. We want to control the direction and course of our lives. We want to do what we want to do when we want to do it. We want to look in the mirror, knowing that we’re looking at the lord of our lives.
So while we may not understand the concept of a lord like Jesus’ first followers did, that doesn’t give us an excuse for keeping control of our lives. Jesus asks us, just as he did his first followers, to lay down our lives, take up our crosses and follow him. We lay down everything that we are, die to ourselves and follow him where he wants us to go. We can’t truly follow Jesus while still trying to be the lords of our own lives. Truly following Jesus means surrendering our lives to his lordship.