In these days after Easter while we anticipate the Ascension, the final stanza of Paul’s hymn of praise in Philippians 2:9-11 rings out:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
C. F. W. Walther, a renown American Lutheran theologian from the late 1800s, commented on the Savior’s position of power not only heaven, but here on Earth.
Jesus: the source of power
Who, then, has the power in the kingdom?
It is Jesus Christ alone. He declares this of himself. He says: “I am a King. I am the good Shepherd.”
The apostle calls him “head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:22,23).
Jesus' power is displayed through his Word
The means by which Christ exercises the power in his church – though he has withdrawn his visible presence from it and sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens – is clearly shown by the last declaration with which he parted from his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Hence his Word, accompanied and sealed by the holy Sacraments, is the means whereby Christ exercises power in his kingdom. This is the “right scepter” with which he rules his people (Psalm 110:2); this is the “rod and staff” with which he feeds his flock (Psalm 23:4).