If Jesus is Lord now, why is the world such a mess?

 

In my sermon last Sunday I made a bold claim. Jesus is Lord, NOW!

At first that statement doesn’t sound too bold. If you grew up in church the statement almost sound like a truism—of course Jesus is Lord now, what else would he be?

But if you think about it a little longer, there may b a part of you that is unsettled. Likely you want to believe it, in some way you do belief it, but still something inside of you struggles to believe that the statement is completely true.

That something is the pesky thought that if Jesus is Lord NOW, why then is the world such a mess? If Jesus really does have authority over all things now, then why are so many things seemingly out of control?

How can we with any integrity proclaim that Jesus is really Lord of all creation NOW?

New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright has done extensive research on this question. In his book Simply Jesus(which I highly recommend reading),  he answers these questions with three points:

1.  Jesus is ruling now but his rule is not yet complete

“We live in a period of Jesus’s sovereign rule over the world—a reign that has not yet been completed since, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, he must reign until ‘he has put all his enemies under his feet’, including death itself. But Paul is clear that we do not have to wait until the second coming to say that Jesus is already reigning…”

2.  In the future Jesus will judge all rulers for the actions they do today

“…We have seen that all the powers and authorities in the universe are now, in some sense or other, subject to Jesus. This doesn’t mean that they all do what he wants all the time, only that Jesus intends that there should be social and political structures of governance. Jesus himself pointed out to Pilate that the authority that the Roman governor had over him had been given to him  ‘from above’ (John19:11)….Part of what we say when we say that a structure is God-given is also that God will hold it to account. God wants rulers, but God will call them to account.”

3.  In the meantime Jesus is working and exercising his authority through the church

“But Jesus is also at work in all sorts of ways in an through the church itself. We are to be, as Paul says, ‘renewed in the image of the creator’ (Col. 3:10)–renewed, that is , by worship of God and the Lamb, so that we are able to serve as ‘kings and priests’, putting Jesus’s rule into effect in the world and summing up creation’s praise before him. This is what it looks like, today, when Jesus is running the world.”

Yes, Jesus is reigning. Yes, the world is still a mess. One day Jesus will put all things under his feet. But until that day Jesus is inviting his people (his church) to join him in his kingdom work.

When we as his kings and priests proclaim the Good News, heal those who are sick, free those who are captives, save those who are oppressed, and bring light to those in the dark, we bring the kingdom of Jesus (the kingdom of heaven) to others. In doing so, Jesus makes his reign known. And those who receive his kingdom, see that Jesus really is the one true Lord–even now.

 

 

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Excerpts come from N.T. Wright’s Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters pp229-231.