“(He) was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.”
We often think of the birth of Jesus Christ. We often think of His earthly ministry, full of wisdom and miracles. Even more often we think of Jesus’ death on the cross for us, and His glorious resurrection from the dead. Sometimes, not often enough, we think about our Lord’s Second Coming. We look forward to His return in glory, the prospect of Judgment and our wonderful Hope of Heaven. Tonight we will look at two neglected questions.
Where is Jesus now? What is Jesus doing right now?
Sometimes we live and act as though the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God wasn’t actually doing ANYTHING between His first and His second coming! As if this present age is just an interval – half time in the great history of salvation. But the Bible teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ is very busy right now. In fact He is exercising two wonderful ministries – one to the whole world, and another especially towards believers.
1. Ministry to the Whole World – Jesus is reigning now on high!
The earliest and simplest declaration of Christian faith is this. “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Not – one day Jesus Christ will be Lord. But Jesus is ALREADY Lord!
(Christ was) in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus is already Lord. The humble Son of God who emptied Himself for a season has returned to the Father. He has ascended on the clouds and returned to the glory He had before the creation of the world. He came from God – and He has returned to God!
Sometimes we talk about the reign of Jesus Christ as of it hasn’t begun yet – as it if is something in the long distant future which will begin when Jesus returns in glory. Something yet to happen when one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. But Jesus is ALREADY Lord – He is Already ruling the universe!!!
Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Hebrews 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
The one in whom all things hold together IS holding all things together!
Where is Jesus Christ right now? He is seated in the place of highest honour and greatest glory – At the right hand of the Throne of Almighty God!
Matt 26:63 (Caiaphas) The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
64 “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
ACTS 7:55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
The right hand of God must be a wonderful place to be! When a person is described as being “the right hand man” of another person, it means someone who is important, indispensable, reliable. It is somebody who can be trusted and has the authority to deputize for the top man. In many cultures and governments and businesses, the most trusted adviser sits at the right hand of the leader. The leader makes the decision – the right hand man makes the decision happen. And sometimes when you need to approach the leader for help, the way to do it is to make an appeal to the right hand man. The right hand man may be more accessible than the leader. When you have his ear, it is as good as having the ear of the leader himself.
Where is Jesus right now? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, occupies that glorious position at the right hand of God, with every single one of the angels and authorities and principalities and powers all in submission to him!
So the exalted Lord Jesus Christ is our example and inspiration
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus Christ is the reigning King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And as just one PART of that divine rule He has sent the Holy Spirit into the Church!
ACTS 2:32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
We do not necessarily see the Lord Jesus as great as He is, because He chooses not to reign visibly and publically yet. But Jesus is Lord nevertheless!
The writer to the Hebrews goes on: In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death,
Jesus – seated at the right hand of Almighty God – Jesus, crowned with glory and honour! THAT is where Jesus is right now! Sustaining and reigning – that is His ministry to the whole world at this time. But The Lord Jesus Christ has a second ministry at this time, especially for the benefit of us who are believers.
2. Ministry to believers – Jesus is our great HIGH PRIEST
Hebrews 8:1 We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
The Son who humbled Himself for a season has returned to the Father. He has returned to the glory He had before the creation of the world. But in some amazing way, God has been changed by the incarnation. Jesus brought divinity into humanity – now He has taken humanity back into divinity. All the experiences of Jesus earthly ministry, even His death and resurrection, are now and forever part of the Godhead!
HEAD OF THE CHURCH
EPHESIANS 1:19 (God raised Christ) from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills everything in every way.
Jesus is ruling and guiding and sustaining the church right now! He is Head of the Church.
1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
The mediator, the man in the middle, the one who bridges the gap and brings peace. Christ is our Mediator.
1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
When we sin, the ministry of our Great High Priest Jesus Christ is to remind the Father that His blood has been shed for us. He reminds the Father that we are forgiven, not because of our own merits but because of His eternal sacrifice. And even more than that, whenever we need grace and help our Great High Priest is there speaking to God on our behalf. He is our Advocate.
ROMANS 8:33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Jesus is not sitting idly at the right hand of God. That is not in his nature. Even when he was here on earth, all his waking moments were either spent praying, preaching, healing or doing good works. In heaven right now, Jesus is busy interceding for us before God the Father.
When we pray in the name of Jesus he hears us and he pleads with God the Father on our behalf. He is in the best position to do this because he has lived on earth as a human being. He has gone through the whole range of human emotions. He has experienced pain [he was crucified on the cross at Calvary] and anguish [when his friend Lazarus died]. He knows what lack, loss, affliction, oppression, false accusation and death all mean from first hand personal experience. Christ has met needs before [he fed the multitudes] and he knows all about disappointment and rejection and betrayal [denied by Peter, betrayed by Judas]. He was the man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. With all this experience, Jesus our High Priest is the best advocate we can possibly have. He knows exactly how we feel when we call to him for help, and with the same feelings and emotions he intercedes for us before our Father in heaven.
And this great high priest is also God’s right hand man! Seated at the right hand of God on high!! So he has unique access to God on our behalf. And He also has God’s authority to act in mighty power and help us when we need help!
HEBREWS 7:24 but because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Right now – at the throne of grace, God the Son is interceding with God the father for the saints – for the needs of ordinary Christians everywhere – even for you and for me!
Centuries ago, Ambrose put it this way. “A child,” saith Ambrose, “That is willing to present his father with a bouquet, goes into the garden, and there gathers some flowers and some weeds together; but, coming to his mother, she picks out the weeds, and binds the flowers, and so it is presented to the father.” Thus, when we have put up our prayers, Christ comes, and picks away the weeds, the sin of our prayers, and presents nothing but flowers to his Father, which are sweet-smelling savor.
Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843), pioneer missionary and preacher, wrote, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me!”
So where is Jesus Christ right now? He is seated at the right hand of Almighty God. What is Jesus doing there? He is reigning on High. He is sustaining the universe. He is Sovereign – He is Lord. And He is also our Great High Priest, Head of the Church, our Mediator, our Advocate, interceding for the saints, on our behalf.
Hebrews 4: 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.