Who’s in charge? That’s what people are asking in Venezuela these days. Have you heard about the situation down there? The president has run the country into the ground. Now he’s facing a power struggle with the opposition. The economy has collapsed. Millions of people have fled. When I was in Colombia in January, the city I was in had 700,000 refugees from Venezuela. Right here in Green Bay, WI, I’ve met families fleeing the chaos. Who’s in charge? It’s so important to have a leader—a good leader. Who’s in charge? You don’t have to go to Venezuela to wonder that. How about our country? Your life? Who’s in charge? Too often it feels like nobody is.
But there is. There is a real King. The Bible doesn’t leave us hanging or in suspense. “The Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.” Who’s in charge? God is King! Not just our King. He’s the great King over all the earth! “God reigns over the nations.” “God is seated on his holy throne.” The message of Ascension Day is that no matter how life might look, someone is really in charge. God is King! So, “clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” “Sing praises to our God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.” There is no reason to be worried or anxious or afraid: God is King!
So why do we get so worried and anxious and afraid? It’s one thing to know that God is King. It’s a totally different thing to believe that God is King. To trust in him and his rule in your life. Whom would we much rather trust in? Me! We like to take matters into our own hands. Just think of all the plans we make in our lives. Think of all the ways we think we’re in control. “If I just change this…” “If I just do this…” “If I could just have that…” Venezuela isn’t the only place with a power struggle. There’s a power struggle in our hearts. Not between two politicians. Between me and God. How does that work out? Broken plans. Unexpected troubles. Sadness.
I hate to admit it, but this happens in my heart all the time. I visited someone in hospital yesterday. After I prayed for his wife, the man said, “It must be nice to be a pastor and not need any prayers for yourself.” What? He has no idea. So many days, life doesn’t go according to my plans. King Nathan controls so much less than what I’d like to think. I’d like to say that I keep on smiling and trust in Jesus. Not! Eyes down. Feeling depressed. Anger and hopelessness. You’ve been there. You understand. Why does that happen? When I don’t trust that Jesus is my King, the chaos of the world and my own life fill me with fear and anxiety. You too? I bet so!
I need these words. I need this truth. “God has ascended amid shouts of joy.” “God is the King of all the earth.” I’m not the king. But Jesus is! Those words were written hundreds of years before the time of Jesus. Some think they refer to the great day when King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Others think they refer to a great victory that God gave the Israelites in the days of King Jehoshaphat. They certainly pointed ahead to an even greater day, when Jesus finished his work of saving us and ascended home to heaven. Can you imagine what Ascension Day was like in heaven? How do you think the saints and angels greeted Jesus when he came home? The greatest coronation ever! Shouts. Songs. Clapping. Jesus is King!
Here’s the amazing part: That King—Jesus—knows you and loves you and saved you. We are so disconnected from the kings and presidents here on earth. The man in the White House has no idea who you or me are. But the real King does. Jesus died for us. Jesus has forgiven every one of our sins. He isn’t a King who sits on his throne and demands things from us. He is a King who came to our world to give us everything. Jesus knows your name. Jesus calls you his brother or sister. Isn’t that a cool thought? My brother is the King of the universe! The empty cross is the greatest symbol of victory. Don’t ever be fooled by what you see around you: Jesus is King!
Jesus once promised his disciples that if they understood that—that he is their Savior and King—“no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22). What could you tell a person from Venezuela? Friend, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I know who does. Jesus! Jesus is King! What could you tell yourself when your plans don’t work out? Jesus is King! When others reject you? Jesus is King! “God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.” Jesus is King! Don’t ever forget it. He holds your life in his hands. May no one ever take away your joy. Jesus is King!