God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.
Jesus, Our Ascended King
Inauguration Day is a hopeful day for citizens of the United States. Imagine that your favorite candidate wins the presidential election. You watch him climb the steps of Capitol Hill and swear to uphold the duties of his new office. Loyal supporters cheer with delight as they line the parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue. They watch as their newly elected leader makes his way toward the White House. Citizens are hopeful that a new leader will bring significant improvement to their country and lives.
But year after year, decade after decade, we become disappointed. It doesn’t take long to realize that our leaders are only human and their course of governance struggles to bring about positive results. With each new election cycle it seems less and less likely that the next candidate will make any significant difference.
King David paints a much more optimistic picture in Psalm 47. He is not writing about a day that he or any other person would take office. He describes a much more joyful day. It is the day that God would ascend to his throne to rule the world.
The rule of a just, loving King who rules with all power while having complete concern for his people is hard for us to comprehend. What would it be like to live beyond the reach of our enemies and their terrorizing threats? What would it be like to have a leader provide for all of our needs? Can we even imagine a world without hurt or heartache or frustration?
Jesus came to make this type of kingdom a reality for us. Before he made his ascent to the throne, he made his descent into this world. He became one of us, sharing our humanity while, at the same time, remaining true God. He lived for us. He died for us and he rose from the dead for us. He is our champion over sin and death.
And when his saving work on earth was done, he ascended to the throne for us. Forty days after his resurrection Jesus went back to heaven. And we are told why. In the Apostles’ Creed we confess that Jesus “sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” In other words, like our verses for today proclaim, “He has ascended amid shouts of joy.” At this very moment Jesus rules the world in the best interest of his believers, his Church on earth, and will one day return as the judge of all mankind.
Today Jesus sits at God’s right hand and rules the world, but we cannot see him. He rules behind the scenes through the authorities that he has set in place. But we can still take comfort in the fact that he is in control and meets every one of our physical and spiritual needs. We also look forward to the day when this Psalm will be fulfilled completely. We will join the crowds who shout for joy and sing the praises of our ascended Savior and King.
Jesus, you are my ascended Lord. Continue to rule the world and my life in truth and love. I look forward to the day when you will return to this world and I will join in endless worship and praise. Amen.