1 Corinthians 15:24-25 “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”
Do you remember what Jesus told the Twelve when he gave them the great commission? “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Do you remember how Paul described Jesus’ place in heaven in Ephesians chapter 1? God “raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 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…”
Do you ever think about what it means for you when you confess in the Apostle’s Creed on Sunday: “and sits at the right hand of God the Father”? We Lutherans aren’t waiting for Jesus to come and set up his kingdom here on earth. We know it is already here. We have been made a part of it by faith, and Jesus already reigns as our king.
Paul wants you to have the comfort and know the power of realizing that Jesus already reigns. We sometimes wring our hands about the divisions in our nation, the fracturing of our families, the moral rot taking over our culture. I will admit that these problems can be worrisome. We sometimes deplore the conditions in our own church–the lack of zeal, the personal squabbles, the never ending distractions that keep us from our real work of sharing Jesus with each other and our community.
Paul assures that Jesus reigns, and that he will continue to reign until he has put every enemy under his feet. Jesus will destroy every dominion, authority and power. Those are terms the Bible uses for the demonic spiritual powers. They are the real enemies, the power behind everything we see in our world which opposes what is Christian and godly. They make our work hard and our lives painful.
But at this point in history we are still the Church Militant, and fighting a war is never easy. None of this changes the fact that our King lives and reigns. Even now he is fighting for us, and he will continue to fight for us until he has defeated every enemy.
Do you doubt it? Jesus kingdom is still advancing. Until twenty-five years ago my church body never had much of a mission presence in India. Then one day we received an invitation from literally tens of thousands of people: “Won’t you come and teach us God’s word? Won’t you come and share Jesus with our people?” The communist government of Vietnam has allowed our church to build a school and serve over a hundred thousand Christians in that country. Christianity is growing in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Our numbers may be declining, but there are signs of a stronger church in the United States, too.
Do you see what’s going on? Our King, who is alive, and well, and reigning in heaven, is among us even now. He is holding the evil dominions, the authorities, and the powers at bay. His reign is destroying our enemies. His presence, and his power, are making a difference in our lives now, even as we wait for his return.