I’m leading music tomorrow at Upper Room. And the song we’ll start with is “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”. I chose it for multiple reasons, which I want to explain now:
Last week we started a new series at Upper Room called Sitting at the Feet of Jesus. In ancient Israel, to sit at someone’s feet was an expression for a posture of learning. A disciple would learn sitting at a rabbi’s feet. As we go through the series, the goal is for our community to intentionally seek to learn from Jesus, to sit at his feet and recognize that he is our teacher. So we’re preaching our way through the Sermon on the Mount, reading all four gospels together, and sharing what we’re learning in small groups and in written reflections. Through all this we want to learn from our Great Teacher Jesus.
But here’s the thing: Many people are quite comfortable to treat Jesus as a great teacher and nothing more. For them the Sermon on the Mount contains excellent moral advice and that’s all it is. But when we read the Sermon on the Mount in the light of the rest of scripture, the words take on both a deeper meaning and authority. The great teacher of the Sermon on the Mount isn’t just a great teacher; he’s the Lord of the universe. He is God before whom, as the hymn goes, “angels prostrate fall”. This means (1) that we can’t reduce the Sermon on the Mount to only great moral teaching, but also that (2) since it is the teaching of Jesus the Lord, we should take the teaching very seriously.
So as we go through this time of focusing on Jesus as Teacher, I’m hoping songs like “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” will remind us that Jesus is far more than a teacher. To sit at his feet is an act of worship. As the hymn again stays, “O that with yonder sacred throng we at his feet may fall / We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.”
In the same vein, Jesus is Lord not because he was a great teacher, but because he died and rose again. He is the Passover Lamb that was slain so that his people would have life. So, during communion tomorrow, we’ll sing “Revelation Song” which has lyrics drawn from the songs of saints and angels before God’s heavenly throne in Revelation 4 and 5: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain . . . Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be to You the only wise King.” And thus we come full circle. The Lord who is the Lamb is also the “only wise King”, the teacher at whose feet we sit seeking wisdom.