The Season after Pentecost: Headship
God has highly magnified Jesus and through his ascension has seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places. This exalted status is unique and singular; he has been raised "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come" (Eph. 1.21, ESV).
The Name Above Every Name that Is Named
The Season after Pentecost is a season of recognition and affirmation of the headship and lordship of Jesus Christ. According to the apostle Paul in his letter to Ephesians, God the Father has displayed his immeasurable power to the world in raising his Son Jesus Christ from the dead. The same Jesus who was humiliated and abused in a sham Roman trial and Jewish Sanhedrin council proceeding has now been vindicated. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus the Nazarene has proven himself to be the one, true Son of God, the Christ and Lord of all.
Now, because of his obedience and sacrifice, God has highly magnified him and through his ascension has seated Jesus at his right hand in the heavenly places. This exalted status is unique and singular; he has been raised "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come" (Eph. 1.21, ESV).
In honor of his work as God's servant, the Father has put all things under his feet, and given Jesus Christ to be head over all things to his body, the Church, which is called "the fullness of him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1.23).
The exaltation of Jesus Christ is appropriate and right; his is the only name under heaven given to humankind whereby they can be reconciled to God and forgiven of their sins (Acts 4.12).
The Already/Not Yet Kingdom: The Exaltation of Jesus Christ
During this unique season, we reflect and act in real time. We both ponder and live in that amazing “already/not yet” moment of Christ’s reign between the sending of the Holy Spirit and his return at the Second Coming. During this season of God’s calendar, we acknowledge and recognize Jesus' place in the universe. Given all authority in heaven and on earth, he now commands his people to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28.18-19). Because our Lord is alive and exalted, we are empowered to accomplish his mandate of world evangelization, and serve as his ambassadors around the globe where people and nations still do not know him to be the Lord and Savior of the world. During this Season after Pentecost we extol him who has been given a name above every name, the same name that all tongues one day will confess and all knees one day will be made to bow to. Truly, Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the Father (Phil. 2.9-11).
According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus Christ must reign until God has put all of his enemies under his feet (cf. 15.25). As he whom God has exalted, Christ ever lives now to make intercession for his own (Heb. 7.25). As he whom God has honored, he alone is the head over all things to his people, leading and directing them as the Shepherd of their souls (1 Pet. 2.25). As he whom God has granted authority over all things, Jesus alone can provide for us the grace and strength to endure all that this world and its prince may do to thwart God's will (1 John 4.4).
Those of us committed to advancing the Kingdom of God in the cities of the world need to remind ourselves that things are not as they appear. On every hand God seems to be ignorant of the chaos around us, or worse, impotent to change the affairs in a world that seems to daily spin more and more out of control. Evil taunts righteousness in numerous societies that flail and wobble towards corruption, coasting without bearing or compass. In the face of such tragedies, let us worship God during this Season after Pentecost, and remember his holy Word: Jesus our Lord has been exalted at the Father's right hand, given a name above all names, and is the head of his people, directing his Church’s affairs as we both show and tell the lost of the Good News of the Kingdom.
I can still remember the chorus we sang in our urban AME church in inner city Wichita of a small group of African American families struggling for dignity in a racially-charged neighborhood. Those humble poor folk sang with joy and confidence the ol’ Southern tune, "God is still on the throne." In the midst of despair and difficulty, they never abandoned the hope that, in spite of it all, God in Christ Jesus still commanded the universe, and in the corridors of history, Christ alone would have the final say. In the spirit of that little church, that true spark of the blazing flame that is the Church, I confess still that God is still on the throne. This is the key to ministry, and this is the key to life.
He Must Reign Until All His Enemies Are Under His Feet
It turns out then that our remembrance during Ordinary time is not that ordinary after all. During this Kingdomtide, let us affirm the truth that spans the centuries and binds all epochs of salvation history together. In Jesus Christ, God intends to rule and reign, and our Lord must now reign until all his enemies are under his feet. As we continue to worship and serve our Lord during this the longest season in the Church's calendar, let's remember as believers and congregations that the next season to follow is Advent: the return of the exalted Lord to the earth to complete the work he started on the Cross. Let us strive on toward maturity and multiplication in power of the Holy Spirit as the Body of Christ in the world.
Join us as believers in Jesus Christ in giving glory to the Father for his exaltation of Christ, and let us strive in all our worship and service to give him the honor and praise he deserves. There is no other name under heaven given for us to be saved, and no other Lord in the universe who will reign and rule as God's sovereign King forever.
Let our knees gladly bow and our tongues joyfully confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. May we advance his Kingdom reign in all that we are and say and do during this Season after Pentecost.
Please know our commitment to you to help you advance the Kingdom of God in the city where you live and work. May God grant you grace and strength as you exalt Christ in the city where you live!