As Paris Trembles, Consider the Mysteries of His Majesty
Last week’s terrorist attacks that traumatized the citizens of Paris recalled a familiar drama for me.
For twenty-five years metro New York has been my base of operations for a global ministry. That is why I can assure you that 9/11 feels almost as real to me today as it did fifteen years ago. So the recent outcry of Parisians held for me echoes from Ground Zero.
What I have discovered is that such events strike at the very core of our convictions about the supremacy of God’s Son.
Has this ever been your experience?
For multitudes of Christians who believe that “Jesus reigns where’er the sun does its successive journeys run” (as the old hymn puts it), here’s the question that confronts believers in the City of Lights and everywhere: What does such massive destruction say about the effectiveness, or even the relevance, of the sovereign, saving sway of Jesus’ kingdom today?
Psalm 2 reassures us that God has “installed my King on Zion, my holy mountain.” The result is that he has made the nations to be the inheritance of his Son, the King of Kings, who will “break them with his rod of iron.”
Yet at the same time, Psalm 2 reports the persistent reality that “nations conspire” and “kings rise up” as they “plot” against heaven’s Messiah, determined by any means to throw off his control and renounce his purposes.
The great hope the psalmist holds out to us is that a day is coming when the only choice left to earth’s wicked is either to “kiss the Son” and “serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling”, or experience his righteous anger when their ways “will lead to destruction.”
Between now and then, what do we believe? Is it true that what Jesus is lord of ultimately he is lord of right now? Is it true that what Jesus will lay claim to at the end is his possession right now? Is it true that the supremacy he will one day display is the supremacy with which he actively engages the world right now?
If so, how do we reconcile his royal majesty with the recent slaughter that has shaken France? Or for that matter, with the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees upended by violence and fleeing for their lives? Or with the daily assassinations of young men and women on the streets of many urban communities in America?
Without a doubt —as Psalm 2 bears out —profound mysteries accompany the majesty of Jesus.
To help you grapple with those mysteries consider the curious questions below. Then coupled with each answer you give ask: What might be the implications of my answer for the people of France currently gripped with anger and fear? Is there any good news for them?
- In his reign over us, does Christ control everything? Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say, “In everything Christ remains in control.” There is a difference.
- In his reign over us, does he work everything for good? Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say, “In his reign over us, he works for the good in everything.” Again, there’s a difference.
- Is Christ’s reign over us static? Has he predetermined every moment of his reign? Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say, “Christ’s reign over us is dynamic—he manages every moment toward the predetermined outcomes of his reign.”
- In Christ’s reign over us, how much does he direct? How much does he permit?
- Can Christ’s reign over us be both forceful and flexible at the same time?
- In what sense is Christ’s reign over us manifested right now in quantitative terms? In what sense does it show itself primarily in qualitative terms?
For those standing in the bloodied streets of Paris (or facing any situation of crisis) these kinds of questions about the mysteries of Jesus’ majesty are worth digging into.
For all of us, life’s tragic events present unavoidable enigmas: Why did this happen? What does this mean? Where will this lead?
The Ultimate Consideration
But the ultimate consideration is this: Where and how does any specific tragedy or crisis fit into who Jesus is, where Jesus is headed, what Jesus is doing, and how Jesus is exalted?
Are there mysteries related to God’s kingdom? You bet! However, the declaration of Scripture leaves no doubt: Christ IS reigning now. Nothing—not Sudan’s civil wars, not the threats of climate change, not the agony of Bangladesh’s impoverished laborers, not greedy corruptions on Wall Street, not the sadistic depravity of ISIS—nothing past, present, or future exists outside the reign of our Redeemer, who having triumphed over sin and death and dark powers “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” where currently he is “sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1).
For the moment, on the other hand, in this fallen and twisted world we must put our hope in the magnificence of his majesty as we wait for the hour when the mysteries surrounding his majesty will be revealed and resolved.
Not long from now all the questions will collapse when everything in heaven and on earth is summed up exclusively under Jesus as Lord (Ephesians 1)—leaving none of us with one single disappointment in him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Bryant
Known as a Christ proclaimer and messenger of hope, David Bryant is the founder and president of Proclaim Hope!, a ministry whose goal is to serve a nationwide Christ Awakening. David is the author of five books, including Christ Is ALL! Join the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God’s Son.