‘“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like; He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock (Luke 6:46-48).”’
The World’s Understanding of Lordship
Lordship is a dirty word these days, at least for the masses, as judged by *Twitterers and populist left-wingers and socialist politicians. Get rid of the House of Lords they insist. Why do we have this ancient archive with its many nobles? Aren’t they an anachronism in 2020? Don’t they hark back to feudal times; the Dark Ages, when serfs were forced to serve local barons? Didn’t **William the Conqueror set all this into motion? Didn’t he establish the jurisdiction of Lords of the Manor? And didn’t their offspring become the landed gentry, who inherited large swathes of land and controlled what happened within their jurisdiction?
We live in different times, don’t we?
Let us put this question to the test.
Is there an ‘upstairs downstairs’ syndrome today? Surely, present day lords are not like their counterparts of olden times who considered they were a class above the common people, their butlers, maids-in-waiting, cooks, cleaners, gardeners – even their wives, who were by law their chattels?
For some in today’s climate of universal enfranchisement and equal rights, the concept of lordship is repulsive, abominable and demeaning.
But today a wife’s husband is no longer her lord (cf. 1 Peter 3:5, 6). Her earnings are hers; her possessions are hers, and she is free to do what she wants with them. In the event of a divorce she could be entitled up to half the value of the home property; whereas in Victorian times she would have been entitled to nothing – not even access to their children, or her children from a previous marriage.
To achieve this present state of imperfect equal rights, in ***times past people have cried out, “We want our freedom. We demand our freedom. Lords shall no longer rule over us. Democracy is our right.”
Inwardly, muttering to themselves, they expressed their feelings and declared that servitude under the domain of lords was menial and debasing. It injured their self-esteem, and it denied their right of self-determination. It was obnoxious. No one should be given the throne of lordship, and yet it was the prerogative of the privileged, i.e., those who held power, those who went to posh schools and those who rubbed shoulders with the elite.
Even today higher members of the establishment, i.e., the Queen, the Prime Minister, and the House of Lords Appointments Commission, confer lordships, and together they support one another in maintaining the status quo, especially in light of recent allegations of cronyism.
Is this the mindset of the House of Lords, where on ceremonial occasions their lordships express solidarity by parading together in their scarlet robes of splendour and authority? One wonders if they esteem themselves far above the citizens they are supposed to represent, protect and honour. Inwardly do they believe they are wise counsellors to the elected body of MPs, truly acting on behalf of the people?
Where would we be without them?
The Lordship of Jesus
The above is the antithesis of the lordship of Jesus. He said to His disciples, ‘“The Kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves (Luke 22:25-27).”’
Jesus turned the world’s view of lordship upside down. He promised His disciples ‘a kingdom’, where they would ‘eat and drink at’ His table (vv. 29, 30). They would receive rewards for serving Him. He was their Lord, and it was a privilege and a gift of great honour to serve Him (cf. John 12:26).
The Supreme Lord Jesus came as One who served (Mark 10:45) and He treated His disciples as if they were His lords. John tells us that He ‘rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded (John 13:4, 5).’
What lord today does that?
True lords serve their subjects in humility, and with respect, tenderness and love.
Jesus said to His disciples, ’“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).”’
Jesus truly was Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and He came as God’s sacrificial Servant (v. 7) to die on a tree (1 Peter 2:24). The perfect Lamb of God, our Lord of creation reigns now, seated at the right hand of God the Father. At the appointed time He will come again, and all shall ****bow the knee before Him. The Lord of creation will judge the earth and truly exercise His lordship.
Finally,’The elders who are among you I exhort ….. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).’
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**William the Conqueror and the Feudal System
****Bowing the Knee