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Catechism Class: LD19A,Q50 “At God’s Right Hand”

26/04/2022

Jesus Exalted At God’s Right Hand

Lord’s Day 19, Q50 Why is it added, and sits at the right hand of God? The answer we must give is: A. Christ ascended into heaven to manifest himself there as Head of his church, through whom the Father governs all things. 

Remember though, that this concept was introduced to us in LD18, Q49, at the very end of our instructor’s teaching on the ascension of Jesus into heaven.  He was making the point that as our brother, bearing our humanity into heaven, perfected and glorified human flesh, he was fitly suited to make intercession for us, where he is seated at God’s right hand. Romans 8:34. Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. That’s what we will do in this lesson.

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First see:

  • WHY He is seated. We are taught in the Bible that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, the Father.  Hebrews 1:1-4,  What is really meant when we affirm that Jesus has sat down on God’s right hand? The idea of his ‘sitting down’ implies the completeness of his work.READ:  Hebrews 1:3 Unlike the never ending work of earthly priests, serving at an altar where sins can never be purged away, Jesus’s saving work is finished, and there is no more to be done, and he is eternally seated at the right hand of the father.  Hebrews 10:12.
  • WHERE He is seated.  The Bible makes much of this. The psalmist pointed to it in Psalm 110, and it is repeated throughout the New Testament.   We are taught that Jesus is seated at God’s RIGHT HAND.  It is the place of supreme honour and dignity and the ancients would have known that. READ: Mark 10:36-38   Colossians 1:18 So, his being seated at God’s right hand, is an indication of his majesty, his glory, his eternal dignity, honour and authority.

Although we affirm that his saving work is done, and nothing more can be or needs to be added to it, our catechist reminds us that the exalted Christ is not idle!  He tells us that he is both the HEAD OF THE CHURCH, AND THE RULER OF THIE UNIVERSE.  Let’s think about those two concepts…

1. The Head of His ChurchChrist ascended into heaven to manifest himself there as Head of his church.

So, Christ is seated, as the head of his church.  Because he is our Head, and we are His Body, we are – in that sense already in heaven – Colossians 1:18 It is, as we have already discovered in our last lesson, a guarantee of our future blessedness – with Christ our Head.

But I’m intrigued by the way the Catechist expresses this. He talks about Christ, “MANIFESTING himself.”  Don’t forget that our catechism was originally written in German, and one other English translation reads, “Because Christ ascended to heaven to show there that he is head of his church.” I wondered why Ursinus would insist that Christ manifested himself as head of the church and I found the answer in Ursinus’s own commentary on the catechism.  It relates to the fact that his glory, his exaltation, his divinity and his authority, are not merely granted to him at a point in time after his ascension, but they are his by right, from everlasting to everlasting!  The Hebrew author has already told us this.  READ Hebrews 1:Philippians 2:5-6. He was highly honoured and glorified with the Father, from before the foundation of the world, – and when he came into this world, being born as one of us at Bethlehem, he didn’t cease being God, being divine, he simply allowed his divinity to be VEILED in human flesh.  A Christian writer put it like this, “Christ, by highest heav’n adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord: Late in time behold Him come,  Offspring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,  Hail th’ incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel.”  But that veil has been lifted! In his exaltation, Jesus’s glory and majesty and divinity is clearly seen, has been manifested, both now, and in time to come, when at His name, every knee shall bow!  And it is essentially manifested, shown, in his relationship with his church, where he is worshipped, glorified and praised. Think of how his Headship of the church is practically worked out: He provides his church with pastors and teachers, equipped to point them to Him through his word.  He builds his church. He prepares an eternal home for his church. He prays for his church – his ministry of intercession. He will return for his church.

Here’s Psalm 110:3-6. from Sing Psalms…

3 When you display your power,
your people flock to you;
At dawn, arrayed in holiness,
your youth will come like dew.

4 Unchangeably the LORD
with solemn purpose swore:
“Just like Melchizedek you are
a priest for evermore.”

5 The Lord’s at your right hand;
there he will ever stay.
He on his day of wrath will crush
the kings who bar his way.

6 The nations he will judge;
the dead in heaps will lie.
The mighty of the earth he’ll crush—
all who his rule defy.

2. The Ruler of All Things.

Not only is the exalted Christ ruling as the Head of the church, but he is ruling the universe, or more precisely, God the Father is ruling all things, through Him.  READ: Ephesians 1:20-23  The Hebrew author has already affirmed this, when he spoke about how Christ is, “… upholding all things by the word of his power,”  and Paul in that famous and important Philippians Christological passage, reminds us that “…God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Jesus is Lord!  He is Lord of the church and Lord of the universe, and he rules, ordains, sustains and decrees everything in it.Matthew 28:18 

But what does the exaltation of Christ, seated in splendour, enthroned at the right Hand of the Father, mean for me, personally?  That’s what our catechist deals with in Q51, and what we shall consider in our next lesson.

© Bob McEvoy 2022

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