From the President
Published by Calvin Seminary
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the mighty hymn of Philippians 2 God exalts Jesus. God lifts Jesus to universal triumph and acclaim, so that one day every knee might bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
We have heard the words so often we yawn when we hear them: Jesus is Lord.
But in the first century people gasped when they heard the words. What struck them is that Jesus is Lord. Not Caesar! Jesus is Lord—the one who prayed all night before he called his disciples, and who got Judas as one of the answers, and then kept him. Jesus kept Judas on, and fed him at the Last Supper.
Jesus is Lord—one whom his disciples knew when he had caught a cold and his voice had turned to gravel. Jesus is Lord—the one who lived every day with a high-maintenance disciple like Peter, and still wanted to build his church on him.
Jesus is Lord. There is astonishment built into this claim, and remarkable trust.
The first thing a disciple needs is trust in his Lord. When we say Jesus is Lord we are saying that we trust not only Jesus himself, but also his program of dying and rising. It’s all a matter of trust. Trust his redemptive program in which self-expenditure leads to life, and not just to burnout. Trust that in his death Jesus absorbed the world’s evil into himself without passing it back, and so cut the loop of vengeance that has cycled down the ages. Trust that in his resurrection Jesus opened a locked door and then left it open for his followers. Trust that in his ascended glory Jesus Christ has given us a new address for heaven: it’s wherever Jesus is.
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” It’s all a matter of trust. Take on self-denial and trust that you won’t be a fool to do it. Take on humility and trust that humility is actually a sign of strength. Take on the form of a servant and trust that real flourishing consists in causing others to flourish. Forgive those who have hurt you and trust that you will actually be better off when you give up anger you have a right to.
In this issue of Forum good colleagues explore several dimensions of discipleship. Of course discipleship is a topic as large as an arena. My colleagues at least get us in the door and show us a part of the pain and glory within.
Grace and peace.
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
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