ODJ: who’s in charge?

May 14, 2015 

READ: Ephesians 1:19-23 

Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come (v.21).

Happy Ascension Day! This day marks the time when Jesus was “taken up into” heaven 40 days after rising from the dead (Acts 1:9).

Just before He ascended, Jesus announced to His disciples that He had been “given all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). This was a bold declaration—spoken like someone who saw Himself in charge.

Some have wondered how Jesus’ claim to be ruler of all could be true when the Roman government was still clearly running the show. And how can His claim be true today, given the level of chaos and corruption in our world? Their point is well taken if we define authority the way the world typically defines being in charge. But as others have pointed out, Jesus completely redefined what being in charge looked like in His kingdom.

Jesus taught that the rulers of this age exercise authority and power by bullying and bossing people around, but those who follow Him are going to exercise power another way: “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).

Does Jesus have authority over all? Absolutely. But He’s also the ultimate servant leader who conquered sin and death by sacrificing His life for us. It’s through this new kind of power that we as believers in Jesus can stand with Him and proclaim that He is Lord of heaven and earth today! (Ephesians 1:21-22). And it’s in this same kind of power that we’re called to pray for and advance His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (v.23).

—Jeff Olson

365-day-plan: Psalm 23:1-6

Read Ephesians 1:19-23 and Philippians 2:6-11 and consider what these Scriptures reveal about Jesus’ authority. 
How has Jesus’ authority helped transform your life? What does Ascension Day mean to you?