He Is Ruling, Not Retired

1 Peter 3:21-22“It (baptism) saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”

Sometimes people have a caricature of heaven as an extended vacation–a really, really long vacation in which we do little more than lounge around in a tropical paradise, as though we were living in an otherworldly spa and resort complete with hammocks and white sand beaches. Even for us that is a gross cartoon picture of our heavenly rest which will have as much to do with activity and service as it does with lazy naps.

For Jesus, heaven is not so much a place or escape or retirement as it is the place where he rules, even now. He “has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand.” God’s right hand is heaven’s highest place of honor for him, but it is even more than that. It comes “with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” These are the most powerful spiritual beings in the universe. All of them live in complete submission to Jesus, because in heaven Jesus rules. And if all of these submit to him, then everyone and everything else in the universe must submit to him as well.

Do you note that Peter is not saying, “Jesus will rule,” but that “Jesus rules already”? That may not always be obvious to his waiting people, who suffer so much while they wait. I don’t always understand his plan. I look at the way he lets the world go, and I don’t get it.

But let’s not separate “Jesus rules” from “Jesus suffered,” “Jesus conquered and rose,” and “Jesus saves.” All of that has certainly turned out in our favor. As we have trusted his plan to save us, he invites us to trust the way he rules our world still today.

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