“Remember always that the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our God, and of his Christ.”
As many as 10.9 million people heard this direct quotation of Revelation 11:15 on national television—one of at least 35 references to the Lord Jesus Christ and 75 references to God—as the Archbishop of Canterbury handed the royal orb to King Charles III, officiating the May 6, 2023 coronation liturgy.
Doubtless, these pronouncements—narrow and religious as they are—scandalized many modern ears tuned in, if they were listening. But were they? Or did each explicit, Christian pronouncement waft silently in and out of viewers’ rooms through their TV sets, concealed under the guise of obsolete ceremony?
We cannot begin to answer this question until we confess the extent to which we ourselves, as Christians, are also disenchanted. If our eyes glaze and minds drift amid such declarations of Christ’s rule, albeit buried under layers of pomp and circumstance, then we should not be surprised that our neighbors react with equal apathy. Simply put, we must regain our vision for the present reign of Christ.
In the Christ hymn of Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul has just sung of Jesus’ utter humiliation on a cross in some of the starkest stanzas conceivable (vv. 6-8). Then he turns to consider the reward for Christ’s sacrificial mission.
When we consider Jesus’ reward for his sufferings, our minds tend to stop at the empty tomb. Yet Jesus not only rose from the dead but also ascended into heaven to sit and rule from the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33, Ephesians 1:20-21, 1 Peter 3:22). “God has highly exalted him,” Paul explains (Philippians 2:9).
God has also “bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (v. 9). Paul and his ancient audience were aware of the fact—far more than we are—that names have power, identifying and evoking one’s essential nature:
- When the soldiers inquired for Jesus to arrest him in Gethsemane, Jesus’ response, “I am,” caused the men to draw back and fall to the ground (John 18:6).
- The name of Jesus heals the lame, casts out demons, and saves from sin throughout the Book of Acts (3:6, 4:12, 16:18).
- Jesus even has a name known to no one but himself (Revelation 19:12)—a name which we are left to conclude must be too wonderful for mortal minds to ponder.
When King Charles was crowned, he was styled “Head of the Commonwealth,” “Defender of the Faith,” and so forth. But Jesus’ name is no mere honorific. He is now, and forever will be, the Ruler of the kings on earth (Revelation 1:5), the Alpha and the Omega (1:8), the King of kings and Lord of lords (19:16).
These realities are not only eternally glorious but deeply practical. We need Jesus’ name. As we step out of our homes into the public square and go forth to the nations, we encounter a world that is held under the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Principalities over peoples and lands want to maintain their dominion over lost humanity (Ephesians 6:12; cf. Daniel 10:20). Only Jesus’ all-conquering name can arm us for our mission as followers of Christ. He alone has defeated the powers of darkness through his death and resurrection (Colossians 2:15). It is because Jesus has all authority on heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18) that we have the right to preach Christ to a hostile world.
As Abraham Kuyper, the noted theologian and prime minister of the Netherlands, aptly said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” Only with this cosmic vision of Christ’s reign can we reenchant and embolden ourselves for the work of mission.
You have exalted the Lord Jesus Christ and given him the name that is above every other name. He alone rules over the church, the nations, and every spiritual force, whether good or evil. I confess I have often forgotten Christ’s authority and given in to timidity in your service. Strengthen me with the knowledge of your authority, and arm me with your name.
In this mighty name of Jesus I pray,
- Pray that Jesus’ name and word would be unapologetically declared in all its power in your church and sphere of influence.
- Pray that churches worldwide would apprehend the power of Jesus’ name in a new and fresh way, proclaiming it over and against the idols in their midst.
- Pray for people groups who have never heard the name of Jesus. Ask for new missionaries to be sent to the unreached.
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