When I was a child we lived just outside the Naval Air Station, so I had contact with lots of sailors in our community. One thing I remember is thinking that part of being a sailor was having a tattoo. I didn’t realize until I was a teenager that tattoos were not standard Government Issue for sailors.
To me the most fascinating tattoos were the religious ones because most of them told a story or revealed a particular belief system about God. Today is no different. Many of the tattoos you see today reflect a religious belief and sometimes may also reveal a person’s concept of Jesus.
Regardless of what you think of tattoos every person has a belief system about Jesus that is reflected in their behavior. For instance, take the person who has never given any indication that they know or serve God. They suffer a tragedy and then blame God for allowing the tragedy to happen. It’s rather obvious that their view of God is “don’t bother me and I won’t bother you, but if I get in trouble I expect your help.”
Unfortunately, there are many concepts of Jesus that are outside of the biblical view of Him as God. In a recent article by Lee Grady he gives several examples of unscriptural concepts of Jesus.
1. The Rolex Jesus – This Jesus promises health, wealth, mansions and luxury cars.
2. The Santa Clause Jesus – He lives far away and visits rarely. He keeps a list and if you aren’t too naughty He gives you what you ask for.
3. The Rabbit Foot Jesus – Some people treat Jesus like a magic charm. They don’t know how to seek to know Him personally, but they figure if they show up for a church service a few times a year, or hang a picture of Him on their wall, they’ll be lucky when bad things happen.
4. The movie star Jesus – He is adaptable to your spiritual preferences. He lets you define your own morality. He’ll mix all religions.
5. The Rock Star Jesus – He doesn’t care how you live your life during the week. Words such as “sin” or “holiness” are off-limits because they are just not cool.
I think you get the picture. There are many false concepts of Jesus. But it’s not who we think Jesus is that’s important, but who does the Scripture say Jesus is?
Throughout Scripture the names of Jesus are revealed. But Revelation 19 best describes His name- “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. This is His true identity but this title also reveals our intended relationship to Him. He is our “King and our Lord”. When we understand who He is we will better understand our role and our relationship to Him.
He is King of Kings
That means that He is sovereign and there is no one in the universe that He is subservient to. We are His subjects and He demands our loyalty, our obedience and our submission.
He is Lord of Lords
This is one of the most radical realities of Christianity. This describes Him as the Supreme Ruler over the universe. Proclaiming Jesus as Lord means we obey what He commands us to do.
What does it mean to recognize and acknowledge Jesus as ‘Lord and King’?
Simply put it means that Jesus is your master. He is the one that you obey and you willingly give Him power over all your life. Your overriding goal in life is to obey Him and do His will. His will and plan is preeminent in your life, nothing else should take precedent.
I would never judge anyone’s motive for a religious tattoo no more than I would judge anyone who wears a Christian tee shirt. But Jesus is more than a cool tattoo or a stylish tee shirt. He is Lord and King of the universe and desires to be Lord and King of our life. Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul reflects God’s intention for those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and King.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him; having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude…For in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2)
The Scripture says that “the mystery of Godliness is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1: 26-27) True godliness and biblical spirituality is wrapped up in the person of Christ. God thought the supremacy of Christ to be so important to the Spiritual health of the believer that He sent Jesus to not only die for our sin but to indwell and impart His very life to us.
God’s ultimate plan for mankind has always been for Christ to be preeminent in our life. He becomes preeminent when we acknowledge and receive that He not only died for us but as us. That picture is painted for us in Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
This judicial act was important in order that we might die to sin and no longer be slaves to sin. Allowing Christ life to reign in us allows us to experience continual victory over sin. (Romans 6:6-8)
Bottom line: Rest, victory, godliness, and holiness are not a result of what you do but are a by-product of who you are in Christ. By laying down your self-effort to “do things for God” and allowing Christ to live His life through you, the by-product will be rest and godliness. By resting in Christ and allowing Him to live His life through you, you will accomplish more for the kingdom than you ever thought possible.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (Col. 2:6)