Pastoral Exhortation

Our Risen and Exalted Christ

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 31 March 2013

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The story of Jesus Christ did not end with His humiliation, crucifixion and burial. In fact, His death led His people to greater anticipation because He had spoken of great and mighty things that would follow: His resurrection (Matthew 12:39-40; 20:17- 19; 26:30-32; Luke 18:31-33; John 2:19-22), ascension and being with the Father in His glory (Luke 9:31, 51; John 6:62; 7:33; 12:32; 14:12, 28; 16:5, 10, 17, 28; 20:17), the new dispensation of the Spirit and global Gospel advancement (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18-20), and the preparation of a place for all His people in glory (John 14:2-3). The power and glory of His person is to have a greater impact after His death.

Scripture repeatedly tells us that Christ is risen from the grave and is at the “right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3b, 13; 8:1b; 10:12; 12:2; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Philippians 2:9; Colossians 3:1; 1 Peter 3:22; 1 John 2:1).

Our Highly Exalted King

Hebrews 1:3 says that Christ “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”. Here, the phrase “the Majesty on high” refers to God the Father. “Majesty” signifies God’s supreme sovereignty. “On high” signifies the most elevated exaltation possible. Together they represent the unparalleled, sublime glory of God. “Right hand” denotes the power (Exodus 15:6), honour (1 Kings 2:19) and pleasure (Psalm 16:11) of God. Now the truth that Christ is seated in such a high, honourable and lofty estate, in the same glory as God the Father, portrays the supreme glory and dignity that Jesus presently possesses.

Here, it is shown that the highest seat in the universe now belongs to Him who once had nowhere to lay His head. Christ, who descended into such profound depths of shame for the salvation of sinners, is now elevated to the highest possible dignity and position. It is this great truth concerning Christ that Paul testified in Philippians 2:8-9, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”

Christ’s present posture as being seated is yet another portrayal of the great honour and authority vested in Him above all others. As Revelation 5:13 declares, “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

It also symbolizes His coming triumph and exaltation over His enemies. In order to show Christ’s superiority over the angels, Hebrews 1:13 issues this rhetoric: “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” This quotation of Psalm 110, verse 1, shows that Christ is now seated in anticipation of His ultimate victory over all His enemies, which the Father has promised Him. This truth is repeated again in Hebrews 10:12-13. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

The enemies of Christ are Satan and his demons, the unrepentant and unbelieving sinners, and sin. All these will soon be subjugated and dealt with. They will be crushed beneath His infinite power. It is said that they shall “be made his footstool”. This expression arose from the custom of ancient conquerors, who put their feet on the necks of their enemies, as a symbol of subjugation. They shall be thoroughly and completely subdued. Now, He is eagerly waiting for the appointed time of this glorious triumph. We are not to suppose that He is inactive concerning the subjugation of His enemies. As much as Christ is the Saviour of those who come to Him in repentance and faith, He is the exalted King who is ready to crush His enemies and trample them under His feet.

The seated Christ shall soon arise to subdue and judge all His enemies. Paul declares concerning this impending great victory of Christ, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Our Perfect High Priest

Hebrews 1:3 declares: “... when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” It shows that He has accomplished the purification of our sins by His own sacrificial work on our behalf.

What a wonderful announcement – “he had by himself purged our sins”! When Israel’s priests offered sacrifices in the tabernacle, they stood daily, ministering. There was no chair among the Tabernacle’s furniture for them to be seated. It was symbolic of the fact that their offering of sacrifice could not remove sins fully. Hebrews chapter 10 attests to this truth: “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (vv. 11, 12).

Christ’s work of our redemption is completed, so on the cross He declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He dealt with our sins, once and for all. No more sacrifice for our purification is ever needed. What Israel’s high priests could not do, Christ has done!

He is our seated High Priest, even at the right hand side of God the Father. “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1b). What a great Saviour our Lord Jesus Christ is!