Q&A: Christ's Cosmic Reign

Christ's Cosmic Reign

What is the extent of Jesus' reign after his resurrection?

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Answer

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, we find Jesus preaching the kingdom of heaven, the reign of God; it was another Jewish way of saying the reign of God. And yet, Jesus is demonstrating his authority or his reign on earth in various ways: healing the sick, driving out demons, stilling storms, and so forth. And at one point, he says, "that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins," alluding back to Daniel 7, where the Son of Man will have great authority. But when you come to the climax of Matthew's gospel at the very end, Jesus then says, after he's been raised and he's about to ascend into heaven, Jesus says, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth." And so, the difference is that now that Jesus has risen; he's the ruler of the cosmos. One text that he cited is in Psalm 110:1, "The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'"; where Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father and he's reigning, and he says that that will continue until all of his enemies are put under his feet.

Answer by Dr. Craig S. Keener

Dr. Craig Keener teaches New Testament studies at Asbury Theological Seminary.