What Is The Final Stage Of Christ’S Exaltation For those who have access to their Bibles, I invite you to turn to Acts, chapter 1. Today, we delve into our exploration of the Apostles’ Creed, focusing on the line where we affirm our belief in Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven.
In the 17th century, the wise Reformed theologians often spoke of three stages in Jesus’ exaltation: His resurrection, His ascension, and His session—His seated position at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. In this sequence, we find the references that we will be delving into: last week, we covered the resurrection; this week, we tackle the ascension; and next week, with the Lord’s grace, we’ll dive into His session. These three phases encapsulate Christ’s exalted journey.
The necessity of Christ’s exaltation becomes evident
Just as He entered the world, took on our humanity, lived and died on our behalf, experiencing humiliation for our sake, it was equally crucial for Him to be exalted. He embodies the humiliated and exalted Lord, with each phase of exaltation playing a pivotal role in conveying God’s message about Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. It serves as God’s testimony to us, reminding us of who His Son truly was and the magnitude of His accomplishments.
Today, our focus is on this profound truth, with Acts 1 providing a comprehensive glimpse into the New Testament’s teachings on Christ’s ascension. Let us now turn to the Word of God.
“And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’ Amen.” (Acts 1:9-11)
May this reading be blessed by His grace. Let us pray.
Our Lord and God, we beseech You to grant us understanding through Your Spirit as we explore the significance of the ascension. May this truth be applied to our hearts, fueling our faith and guiding our obedience. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
The resurrection of Christ has been widely discussed and defended, and rightfully so. It’s a cornerstone of the New Testament, repeated numerous times. Similarly, Christ’s session—His rule from the right hand of God—is a cherished and comforting truth. Unfortunately, the ascension has often been neglected in our studies. However, the New Testament is replete with references to this event, not just in Acts 1, but also in the epistles. Paul alludes to the ascension on multiple occasions, and the Book of Hebrews offers profound insights into this pivotal event. It is a doctrine rooted not only in Scripture, but also in the creeds and confessions of the Church. It is a truth that offers tremendous comfort to believers.
Allow me to outline five aspects of what the ascension signifies and how it brings comfort and meaning to our Christian journey:
- Verification of Accomplished Work: The ascension serves as evidence that Jesus’ redemptive work was successful. It confirms that He fulfilled every task assigned by God on our behalf. The ascension heralds the Father’s affirmation, proclaiming that Jesus accomplished His mission and is now exalted due to His obedience.
- Union with Christ in Glory: The ascension paves the way for believers to be united with Christ in glory. He leads the path, and we follow. It’s the vanguard of an army—Christ is our forerunner, and His ascension assures us that we will one day be with Him in eternity.
- Partaking in His Inheritance: As the Father bestows upon Jesus His rightful inheritance through the ascension, believers are guaranteed an inheritance that we do not deserve. Our union with Christ ensures that we share in His blessings and the riches of His grace.
- Declaration of His Reign: The ascension is a public declaration of Jesus’ Lordship and reign. It stands as a testimony that He is seated at the right hand of God, orchestrating all events and ruling over creation. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit further affirms His authority and sovereignty.
- Yearning for Communion: The ascension redirects our hearts from earthly matters to a deep longing for fellowship with Christ. Our ultimate desire is communion with Him, and the ascension emphasizes that this longing will be ultimately fulfilled in His presence.
The doctrine of the ascension holds profound significance for believers
It illuminates our faith journey, offering reassurance amidst trials and uncertainties. It redirects our focus from earthly concerns to eternal realities, compelling us to treasure fellowship with Christ above all else. As we meditate on this often overlooked truth, may it continue to shape our lives and deepen our relationship with our ascended Lord.