The Reign of Christ over This World.
“World,” of course can mean the physical universe. “World” is also used in the Bible to refer to the collection of forces of opposition to God. “Worldliness.” Anti-God.
So what if a person gains everything this world has to offer – riches, pleasures, honors and respect, power and authority over others, self-satisfaction – all of it! But if you lose your soul, your personhood, your life? If you end up apart from God by your own choice? That’s Hell. You’ve given your soul to the devil. Jesus says your soul – destined for eternity – is worth more than the whole world. But you’ve tossed it away.
So let’s look at what Jesus, the Truth, tells us about this world. First, He’s not of this world (Jn 8:23, 17:14). The world doesn’t know the Father (Jn 17:25) and doesn’t know the Son (Jn 1:10). The world’s rulers do not know Christ (1Cor 2:8), and His Kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36). He even says the world hates Him (Jn 7:7, 15:18).
But even still, Christ entered into the world (Jn 3:17, 9:39, 10:36, 16:28, 18:37). God took on human flesh in Christ Jesus to take away the sin/sins of the world (Jn 1:29, 3:16; cf. Mk 2:10) (Catechism 295-301, 337-349). God so loved those in the world that He came to give them the real life that is eternal, sharing in God’s life (Jn 3:16-17; 1:12; 6:33; 2 Pet 1:4). He came also for judgment on the world (Jn 9:39, 12:31), and to save the world (Jn 12:47). Christ Jesus brought redemption to the world (Mt 18:11; Jn 12:31, 15:18, 16:8-11, 17:9) and is the light of the world, banishing its darkness (Jn 1:9, 3:19, 8:12, 9:5, 12:46). He is the Bread of Life, the Eucharist which gives life to the world (Jn 6:32-35,41, 47, 50-51, 53-58).
No matter how fallen mankind has become, no matter the extent of a person’s sinfulness and worldliness, Jesus came to snatch us from the devil’s grasp. His power is from God (Mt 28:18), not from the “prince of this world” (Lk 4:5-8) who has no power over Him (Jn 14:30).
Had the world’s rulers (human and demonic) known and understood what Christ was about, they would not have crucified Him (1 Cor 2:8). In the crucifixion, the world was judged (Jn 12:31), was overcome (Jn 16:33), and the ruler of this world, the devil, was and is being cast out (Jn 12:31) and destroyed (Heb2:14).
Christ now has been given power over all flesh and the power to give that eternal life (Jn 17:2). Following His Resurrection and through His Ascension, Christ left the world to return to the Father (Jn 16:28) where He is glorified and glorifies the Father (Jn 17:1, 5). He is no more in the world (Jn 17:11). From God’s “right hand” (Ac 2:33, 5:31, 7:55-56; Eph 1:20), He directs the course of history (Rev 5:9). He is raised above “all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every named, not only in this age [this world, this present darkness] but also in that which is to come [the new creation, new Heaven, new Earth], and He [the Father] has put all thing under His [Christ’s] feet” (Eph 1:21-22; cf. Phil 2:9; Heb 2:8).
Christ now reigns over the world until He has destroyed every rule, authority, and power (yes, that’s the devil, his demons, and all who follow them), and has put all enemies, including death itself (cf., Heb 2:14), under His feet (1 Cor15:24-26; Phil 2:9). Then comes the end when He delivers the Kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor 15:24-25, 28; cf. Phil 2:10; Heb 1:6, 13,2:8).
That is where Scripture tells us we are going. The world will reach its goal and perfection when it has been renewed and transformed into “the new heaven and the new earth” in the fullness of God’s kingdom, which is at the end of this world (Catechism 1043).
Have hope! Don’t let the battle discourage you. Jesus reigns. He will win for us if we entrust ourselves to Him.
Dibby Allan Green
Dibby Allan Green has a BA in Religious Studies (Westmont College, 1978) and MA in Theology (Augustine Institute, 2019), is a lay Catholic hermit, and a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.