The answer to our fears
What makes you afraid? Isn’t it the sense that you are not in control? You cannot determine the outcome of an important election. Or manage the economy. Or keep politicians from making horribly bad decisions. Or guarantee your health. Or prevent terrorist attacks. Or be with your children 24/7 to make sure they’re always safe. The result? Fear.
Let me talk to you for a little about the supreme antidote to such fear. It lies in a person. Someone who is in control. Of all things. Jesus, God’s Son.
In his letter to the Christians in the city of Ephesus, the Apostle Paul vividly pictures Jesus’ enthronement in heaven. It is the magnificent sequel to the self-humbling and sufferings of his life on earth. God “raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand…far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body…” (Ch.1.20-23)
Six words to help us think through this kingship of Jesus.
Law. In this ever-changing world of ours it seems that all the old moral guideposts are being removed. What was once right or wrong is apparently no longer so. There is an unchanging law, however, by which King Jesus would have us live. It is none other than the ancient law of God, summarized in the Ten Commandments. Live by that law and you really are living the right way.
Love. Love and law don’t always go together. But they do under Jesus’ rule. For one thing, love sums it all up. If we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbour as ourselves we have kept the whole of what our divine King requires of us. Or to approach it from another angle, the King’s law shows us what love looks like. I learn what it is to love God and my fellow men as I listen to what the law tells me. To what it enjoins. To what it forbids.
Liberty. If love and law don’t always go together, neither do liberty and law. But again, they do so under Jesus’ rule. Freedom never flourishes more fully than in a society that seeks to order itself in accordance with his laws – freedom of speech, freedom from tyranny, freedom of conscience, freedom to worship God as he has commanded, freedom to live the most fruitful and fulfilling of lives.
Life. Under Jesus’ rule, life is robbed of nothing that makes it worth living. On the contrary, as we cease from our rebellion and become his loyal and loving subjects we enter into a richness of life obtainable in no other way. Would you know the answer to your guilt, your fears, your emptiness, your slavery to sin? Put yourself unreservedly in his hands!
Purpose. Jesus is working toward a glorious end. The saving of a people for himself from every part of the globe. The final defeat of evil. The creation of a world where righteousness and love hold sway. And in and through it all, the hallowing of God’s name.
Power. But can he do it? Yes he can, for all authority in heaven and on earth is his. He has power to change our hearts and lives. Power to make all things work together for our good. Power to banish all wickedness and death from this world. Power to make all things new.
A hymn of Charles Wesley begins, “Rejoice, the Lord is King”. In the light of all the above, that word “rejoice” is as fitting as it gets.