Who’s in charge?
To be legitimately IN CHARGE isn’t the same as being in power. Really being IN CHARGE means you have authority from God and the responsibility to represent God.
The importance of the question underlies the news cycle this week—as different groups in our American government balance the desire to hold power with the need to govern justly. And the importance of the question lies front-and-center in our passage.
Who’s in charge? Who has the right from God to rule?
Luke 19.28-44 begins the final section of Luke’s gospel. As Jesus moves toward Jerusalem creation itself recognizes that Jesus is IN CHARGE (:28-44). As Luke lays out the account, He shows Jesus demonstrating that He’s in charge through His all-knowingness (:28-34). Two disciples are sent ahead to fetch a donkey-colt who’s never been ridden. The owner, Jesus tells the disciples, will ask why they’re taking the animal. They’re to tell him that the “Lord has need of it”. Everything takes place, just as Jesus said.
Then, Jesus fulfills Scripture (:35-38). After entering Jerusalem in a manner that would have reminded the thoughtful follower of Zechariah 9.9, Jesus rides the unbroken colt into the city to the singing of His true followers. There’s not nearly as many of them as there should be, but their praise from Ps 118 describes the rightful king leading pilgrims to the temple and receiving welcome.
Then, Jesus dismisses political fears (:39-40). And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
The Romans claimed imperium, the right to rule. The Jews recognized Roman imperium, and in exchange received a degree of freedom, including the temple where they worshipped. The Pharisees feared Jesus, because worship of Jesus’ true imperium would certainly result in the loss of political peace with Rome.
Jesus responds that creation knows He’s IN CHARGE, even if His own people didn’t. The rocks will cry out, if need be. As Darrell Bock has said, “That which is lifeless knows life when it sees it, even though that which is living does not.”
The Nation did not recognize that JESUS is IN CHARGE (:41-44). In the final section Jesus mourns the Nation’s rejection. The “stones” which, in verse 40, threatened to shout out their praise will be cast down. The city will be leveled by Titus in 70 A.D. (as recorded in Josephus in his War of the Jews). Nothing was gained by rejecting Jesus. In trading Jesus for peace with the Romans, peace with the Romans was lost. The Nation found itself on both the wrong side of history and of eternity.
True followers of JESUS recognize that JESUS is in charge.
This is true at the level of nations—though God permits different forms of government that ultimately find their authority in Him. This is true in churches. It’s true in families. It’s true in our private lives.
And, our lives will be transformed to the degree that we recognize JESUS is IN CHARGE.
The Good News is that we can embrace Him by faith. And then, we recognize His imperium in every area of our lives.
Jesus is in charge when … the MRI report turns up something … you lose your job … you’re taking care of an elderly parent who won’t get better … you’re a student athlete and you injure yourself and your season is over … you’re not invited to the prom … you want to get married but you’re not encouraged by the prospects … you get robbed or experience injustice … you’re a kid and your parents make a decision you don’t like.
JESUS reigns today! His rule will be established soon. While we press toward His return, let’s join His true followers throughout the ages in living our lives while knowing that JESUS is IN CHARGE.
Here’s some questions to consider with others:
- Where in your life is it most difficult to recognize that JESUS is IN CHARGE?
- How would government, business deals, buying and selling, and our daily lives in our workplaces be different, if we consistently believed and applied the truth that JESUS is IN CHARGE?
- How does knowing that JESUS is IN CHARGE change the way we respond when we experience injustice?
Have a great week!