“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
What does Jesus mean by 'Lord, Lord'?This is a very critical statement of Jesus clarifies what Jesus wants from his followers.
In this statement, Jesus is clarifying the difference between those who proclaim allegiance to Jesus and those who actually follow his instructions.
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord” clearly indicates that proclaiming allegiance to Jesus is not enough. And isn't this what we see among the many sectarian institutions that claim to follow Jesus today? Yes. We see the focus being on proclaiming allegiance to Jesus.
Yet Jesus is clearly stating that this is not the same as being a follower of Jesus. He is stating that one must follow his instructions and his teachings.
One might compare this to a child who goes to school and sits in the classroom and enthusiastically praises the teacher but doesn't listen to what the teacher is teaching and never does the homework. Will the teacher be pleased? The child's praising of the teacher is worthless unless the child is learning.
In the same way, Jesus is emphasizing following his teachings here. Proclaiming allegiance to Jesus is not enough. So what does it mean to follow Jesus' teachings? Jesus states it clearly.
What is Jesus recommending?Jesus is emphasizing that in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven we must do the will of the Supreme Being:
"... but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
What does it mean to do someone else's will?
It means to do what pleases them.
Jesus is instructing his followers to do what is pleasing to the Supreme Being.
It is a very simple concept, and it says volumes about the spiritual realm and those who live there.
Jesus is indicating that the spiritual realm - the kingdom of heaven - is that place where its citizens are the loving servants of the Supreme Being.
A loving servant is one who willingly and lovingly acts in a way that is pleasing to the one they love.
In other words, it is not slavery. We can see that the Supreme Being is not employing slaves because each of us has the freedom to serve God or not. We each have the freedom to place our love upon the Supreme Being or place our love upon ourselves - which translates to materialism.
Loving ourselves and acting only in self-interest is called self-centeredness. It is precisely the opposite of loving the Supreme Being and acting in a manner that is pleasing to the Supreme Being.
And acting in a manner that is pleasing to the Supreme Being is the essence of Jesus' teachings. Why? Because this is why we were created. We were created to be the Supreme Being's loving servants and playmates.
But love requires freedom. We cannot be forced to love. For this reason, the Supreme Being gave each of us the freedom to love Him or not.
And those who chose not to love Him were sent to the physical world to take on a temporary physical body. So we could effectively be away from the Supreme Being, and act out our self-centeredness without His interference.
This is love. The Supreme Being loves each of us. So He not only gave us the freedom to love Him or not, but for those of us who chose not to love Him, He gave us a way to escape Him and ignore Him.
But He doesn't forget us. He knows that we will never be happy without Him. He knows that we will never be fulfilled as we seek happiness away from Him.
Why did God send Jesus?This is why He sent Jesus to teach us that we will only be fulfilled when we return to our natural position as one of His loving servants and playmates.
We can also see clearly from this statement that Jesus is the representative of God. He came to give us the message that if we give our lives and our love to God, and we do God's will rather than our will, we will return to the spiritual realm.
This statement should also clarify that while Jesus represents God, he himself is not God. This is revealed simply by his phrase, “my Father who is in heaven.” Note that Jesus was standing in front of the people he was speaking to. By stating that his Father was in heaven, he is separating himself from the Supreme Being.
Jesus also confirms his disgust with those who worship Jesus as God, as he clarifies that “only” those who do Jesus' Father’s will enter the Kingdom.
The reason for this is that the Kingdom of God is that place where doing God’s will is the status quo. Everyone in the spiritual realm is loving and serving the Supreme Being as their all and all.
We can choose God’s will or our will at any particular moment. Every day and every moment of the day He gives us the choice. We are constantly being given two roads to travel: One that pleases us, and the other that pleases Him.
What does Jesus recommend to do God's will?Reaching out to Him is pleasing. A prayer or a simple offering to the Supreme Being - both are pleasing to the Supreme Being because He enjoys the exchange of relationships.
To offer something to God is to extend our desire to reconnect with Him. Every relationship involves an offering - an exchange of a gift. This is the rationale behind the custom of offering to God in the temple, as Jesus taught his disciples to do:
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." (Matt. 5:23-24)Offerings were also taught by all the prophets as well. By offering something to the Supreme Being we are reaching out to Him. As Jesus states, it is a gift - an offering is a gift to the Supreme Being.
Our offerings and prayers to the Supreme Being increase our remembrance of Him. By remembering Him through the day, remembering His beauty, love and mercy upon us, we will be offering Him the greatest gift we can offer - our focus and attention. It is for this reason that Moses said, “…be careful that you do not forget the Lord…” (Deut. 6:12). Moses also instructed to “…serve Him only…”(Deut 6:13)
Jesus also teaches that praising the Supreme Being and glorifying His Holy Names is pleasing to God:
“This is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.” (Matt. 6:9)
“I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth..." (Matt. 11:25)And his most important instruction - the foundation of Jesus' teachings and the key to pleasing the Supreme Being - is to love the Supreme Being:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)In fact, it is his love for the Supreme Being that creates the "oneness" between Jesus and God as Jesus stated "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).
This is the stuff of relationships. When someone is acting and living within a loving relationship, and doing the will of the one they love, there is a oneness between them. This oneness is the oneness of love. There are two individuals, but they are united by the love between them.