“He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”
(1 Corinthians 15:25)
Notice that little word ‘until’. Christ reigns now, but all his enemies are not yet under his feet. Christ reigns now, but a rebellious world continues its flight from God. Christ reigns now, but evil tramps through God’s vineyard spoiling the fruit. Christ reigns now, but sorrow and suffering remain.
Until he has put all his enemies under his feet. Sorrow will not abide. Sin, death and evil stride the world as its apparent masters, but Christ reigns and is in the process of vanquishing enemies to bring the earth to that day when all things are subject to God.
The rebellion looks like it has the victory, but Christ is healing the sick and casting out demons and vanquishing fear. The grave is open and death has lost its grip on the human heart. Truth is spoken and lies revealed. The Spirit of God is breathed out upon the world and young men see visions and old men dream dreams. Compassion and mercy and generosity and love of neighbor have been loosed on the world. Justice and faithfulness are born anew. Hope is whispered in the realm of shadows and light shines.
The rebellion against heaven will not endure. Already it crumbles. The gates of hell cannot prevail. The darkness cannot overcome the light that is the life of humankind.
Chase after mammon if you must, but Christ reigns and all enemies will be put under his feet. Chase after lusts and the empty promises of pleasure, but Christ reigns and every fist raised against heaven will be brought low. Chase after the illusion of security and control, chase after power, chase after happiness, chase what you will, but Christ reigns.
Christ reigns. Life is the victor, and all that remains is a mopping up. All enemies will be put under his feet. Every knee will bow. Every tongue will acknowledge, whether willingly or not, that the earth belongs to heaven, not heaven to earth. We are not the masters. Christ is Lord.
Christ is Lord. The one betrayed and beaten. The one crucified. The one who does not call on heavenly armies to avenge the wrongs done to him. The one who forgives his betrayers and his torturers. The one who bears on his shoulders the shame of the world. This is the one who reigns. Who does not quench a failing wick. Who does not break a bruised reed. Who says to the woman caught in adultery, “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I.”
Christ is Lord. Justice and mercy reign. Grace governs. This will be the final word. All enemies will be put under his feet, but his conquest of the world is not Sherman’s march to the sea; it is the Samaritan who washes the wounds of the beaten man, lifts him onto his own donkey and carries him to the inn.
Easter bids us to live this life, to dwell in this grace, to kneel and serve this Lord even now.
Prepare your wine and oil, get your donkey ready; there are wounds to tend.