Devotional/Reflection: Last week’s reflection on the resurrection suggested that we as Christians don’t give significant enough attention to the resurrection of Jesus. It is the most significant historical event in all of history and the central point of the apostle’s gospel message, so we ought to pay it enough attention. But while the resurrection is certainly the most important part of the gospel that we sometimes fail to highlight, the exaltation of Jesus is often a part we don’t consider at all. I recently heard a professor discussing how few hymns relate to the ascension and exaltation of Jesus. That’s certainly not sufficient evidence to prove the point, but it did cause me to reflect on the issue and I largely agreed with his assessment of our oversight of this important doctrine. The book of Hebrews is one of the most beautifully written books in the Bible, and really a beautiful piece of literature in general, and it spends a great deal of time highlighting the exaltation of Jesus. The point the author of Hebrews makes is simple yet powerful, and it is summarized well by his statement in Hebrews 4:14-16–“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The exaltation of Jesus means we have a great high priest who hears our prayers, brings them before the Father, and pleads our case; we have a great high priest who understands our suffering because he suffered too, and unjustly at that; we have a great high priest who is enthroned in power and has the authority to act upon our world and our situation to bring about good. The beautiful truth of the exaltation in Acts 2:33-36 is that the Messiah, Israel’s King, the one whom Peter’s audience delivered over to be crucified at the hands of lawless men, is alive and reigning in power as the true Lord of the whole world! Peter also reminds us in these verses that Jesus’ exaltation made possible the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ position of power and authority are the foundation for the sending of the Holy Spirit to empower believers. So our power, which comes from the Holy Spirit, is grounded in Jesus’ own power and authority at the right hand of the Father! It is a beautiful picture of how the Triune God has invited us to share in His work in this world and it ought to lead us to praise.
- What is most significant to you about Jesus’ position of authority and power at God’s right hand?
- What is most significant to you about Jesus’ role as our high priest?
- What is going on in your life that you are having trouble entrusting to Jesus? How does/should knowing that he too has suffered help you trust him?
- Read Philippians 2:5-11. Notice the way in which Paul shows Jesus in the heavens, then his humility in human form, then his time in the grave, then his resurrection and exaltation back to the heavens. Though Jesus ends up back in his rightful place of authority, the time in between is God’s plan to reconcile the world to himself. Discuss/reflect upon whatever aspect of this redemption is most impactful to you at this moment.
Scripture Memory: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” –Acts 2:36