Friday, May 22

Ascension Friday

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone  (Hebrews 2:8-9).

A common question is why a good and powerful God allows pain, trauma, evil, and natural disasters. Or pandemics. For some, it is not an honest question so much as an excuse not to submit to God’s authority. For others, it is a painfully honest question, but needs to be broadened to include some of God’s other attributes. For instance, we could just as well ask, why does a holy God tolerate sinners who rebel against him? Why does a compassionate God become flesh and blood human and identify with the innocent victims of unjust trauma? These questions are answered, of course, in the person, work, and mediation of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

This God, the Triune God, is all about reconciliation. It is not just an intellectual activity of reconciling abstract concepts such as love and power, or even what could be versus what is. Reconciliation is not just about theoretical possibilities. It is about actual relationships between real beings. It is personal. In human psychology love is its own kind of power, which is very different from the kind of power that works in machines or computers, because love involves freedom and choice. The kingdom of God as Jesus proclaimed it operates on the power of love rather than the fear of death. It turns every mode of self-preservation upside down—enemies are to be loved, not hated. The Kingdom of God is about doing good to those who hate you, giving generously, showing grace to the undeserving, using position and power to serve rather than to be served, being humble and accepting undeserved pain, forgiving those who have harmed you.

Yes, even though there is nothing in all the universe that is exempt from being under Christ’s power and dominion, it appears otherwise now because Christ’s dominion and power is completely disregarded by the way the powers and dominions of this age operate. Evil powers will be destroyed when Christ returns, but now as he reigns unseen in the heavenly realms we are receiving amnesty, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and freedom from the fear of death. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself when he suffered and died, and God is still in Christ, reconciling the world to himself through the message of the forgiveness of sins and in the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your love, your power, and your way of life. Even though this world does not submit to you, I submit to you. I offer myself to you to be used for your purposes. I submit the results of all my efforts to be used for your glory. I embrace my weaknesses so that your strength can be shown through me. I let go of my guilt and shame since Jesus took them on himself when he was crucified. I affirm that I am spiritually cleansed, made holy, and declared righteous in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by your Spirit, dear God. I commit myself to be about reconciliation, and to remind others of how you reconciled them to yourself through the cross.