The Exaltation of Christ
Ephesians 1:20, 21
Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,…

And set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. There was power both in the resurrection and in the ascension of our Lord. As the Resurrection was the seal of his redeeming sacrifice, his ascension was the seal of the Resurrection, usually linked with it in Bible allusions, but specially referred to by Peter (Acts 2:33-36; 1 Peter 3:22). In John's Gospel there is an emphatic reference to the event: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father" (John 16:28). In the Epistle to the Hebrews it receives greater prominence than the Resurrection itself (Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 4:14, 19). It was a phrase in one of the earliest hymns of the Church - he was "received up into glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). The sitting at the right hand of God is the immediate and necessary sequel of the ascension from the earth. Several important facts are implied in this heavenly session.

I. KINGLY DIGNITY. This accrues to him from his obedience unto death (Philippians 2:9-11), and is never referred to Christ before his incarnation, but only to the God-Man after his ascension. Yet he was in reality King as well as Priest before his incarnation. If he saved men from the beginning, he was King from the beginning. The dominion of the Mediator was conferred upon him in consequence of his obedience unto death, and was yet enjoyed and exercised by him long before his death; just as he saved men from the beginning by the blood of the cross, as being the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The exaltation he received after death was not an accession of new glory or power, but the manifestation under new conditions of a glory he had from the beginning. This was the position assigned to him in the hundred and tenth psalm, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand." Its fulfillment is manifest in such sentences as the following: - "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and Savior" (Acts 5:31); "He was made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26); he "sits on the right hand of power" (Mark 14:62); he is "now set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Thus, though "crucified in weakness," he "liveth by the power of God" (2 Corinthians 13:14).

II. KINGLY AUTHORITY. Over all the principalities and powers, evil and good, in two worlds; for not only is he far above all these, but God "hath put all things under his feet." He had himself declared immediately before his ascension, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). There is nothing excepted from the vast sweep of his power. All things whatsoever are his footstool. The brow that was once crowned with thorns wears the crown of universal dominion. The pierced hand holds the scepter of the universe. Herein lies the sublime guarantee for the preservation and completion of his Church on earth. He will ultimately triumph over all his enemies (Hebrews 10:13).

III. BLESSEDNESS. This points to "the joy set before him" (Hebrews 12:2), the joy of holy love, because "he has received of the travail of his soul and is satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11). It was in allusion to himself that the bright words are used, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11).

IV. PERPETUITY. He liveth ever to God without dying again (Romans 6:10). We have to do with a risen Christ who dieth no more, and therefore can be ever helpful, unlike our friends of earth, whose death ends all their relations to us.

V. INTERCESSORY WORK. He is our heavenly Advocate (1 John 2:1). He has entered heaven "for us," now "to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24). It is this presence of our High Priest which is so helpful to us in our many infirmities, and is the guarantee of our daily pardon in virtue of the great sacrifice on Calvary. Thus, being reconciled to God by his death, we are saved by his life, in consequence of the power which is unceasingly passing forth from the Head to the members (Romans 5:10). The salvation of Christ on earth and in heaven is one inseparable whole. Thus the session of Christ is connected with the peace, the sanctification, the security, the hope of all believers.

VI. LESSONS AND ENCOURAGEMENTS TO BELIEVERS. Our Savior assumes and exercises a lordship over the lives and over the deaths of all his disciples; "for whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's" (Romans 14:8); and in the ease of two eminent disciples, Peter and John, he claimed this lordship, "And if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John 21:18, 22). Therefore all the energy and devotion of our lives are to be given to him. He demands of us a heavenly direction of mind (Colossians 3:2), with a sense of our heavenly citizenship to keep us apart from the sins and vanities of life. We ought to cherish a sentiment of holy fear, on account of our relation to a Redeemer so highly exalted in glory; and yet a sentiment of holy boldness, knowing that our High Priest is on the throne of glory and of grace. - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

WEB: which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,

The Exaltation of Christ
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