The Progress of Jesus

There are a lot of days when this world feels like a sinking ship. Sometimes believers can feel like were simply holding for that moment when we will be hellicoptered off by Jesus. But, while a doomed vessel isn’t a terrible analogy for the present world, the Titanic ought not be the only image that comes to mind when we think about this earth. Here’s a bit of hope: Jesus has been given authority over this earth. He’s possessing the nations like His Father promised (Psalm 2:8). While it often feels like the kingdom of Christ is losing ground, we actually have a promise that King Jesus is making progress to the ends of the earth.

David highlights this in Psalm 110. After acknowledging the ascension of Christ, he says, “The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter (Psalm 110:2). Rule in the midst of your enemies!” So Jesus has not only ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father. He also conquers on earth through His Spirit’s power.

The King’s Progress will go forward from Zion. The prophets of the Old Testament use Zion as a common reference for Jerusalem. Amos 1:2 says, “The Lord roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:2 echoes Psalm 110, “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Jesus continues the idea in Acts 1:8 when He says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It was in Jerusalem that Christ laid down His life and rose again. It was in Jerusalem that the Holy Spirit came upon the church in power. It was in Jerusalem that the church of Christ was first established. And it was from Jerusalem that the Spirit-empowered church took the mighty gospel of God to the nations.

This gospel is still spreading. 2000 years ago, something so significant happened in Jerusalem that the world will never again be the same. What occurred there is good news. Jesus Christ, the Son of God was born of a virgin. He fully obeyed all of God’s law, died for sinners, and rose again. This Jesus is still alive today and able to save to the uttermost those who come to Him in faith. This message is the power of God for salvation.

As the King progresses from Zion, we should anticipate His rule. Jesus goes forth as a King. And rule is what King’s do. When Jesus conquers a person, that person changes. Surely not all in one batch. The rule of Christ does not come over night or in an instant like when you switch on a light. But He does conquer the human heart by His grace, and thoroughly so. Jesus commissioned His followers to go into the world and teach others to observe what He commands. That is, the nations are not only to learn His ways, but submit to them. David tells us that we can anticipate this kind of thing in the world.

While we anticipate this, we must also anticipate that as the King progresses, He will do so in the midst of His enemies. We shouldn’t think that such an advance will be easy. Advance always comes at a cost. We ought not to lose heart when we meet those who oppose King Jesus and His ways. When we find such situations, we can know that is exactly what God has promised would happen. And while we see God’s Word affirmed even in those who resist Him, we can remember that Jesus is ruling right in their midst.

Here is encouragement for Christians. Our King plays offense. God is not back on his heels. He’s not trying to run out the clock until half-time so He can regroup. He’s on the attack. And He calls us to join Him.

Jared served in pastoral ministry since 2007, he has earned MDiv and PhD degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also a member of the Evangelical Theological Society. He and his wife Heather have seven children.
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