Ascension 2014. Where is Jesus’ Throne?
May 29, 2014+ Where is Jesus’ Throne?
If you stretch out your hand and look at it, you can see the tendons that enable it to move and grasp. You can probably see the veins that carry the blood from your heart to your fingers. You can see the small bones, without which you couldn’t do the simplest things—fish out your keys, use your cellphone.
A human hand is a powerful thing. We depend on it for so much of our lives. Yet our hands are fragile. The bones are easily broken. A well-placed cut can sever the tendons and make your hand useless, or open a vein that causes your lifeblood to flow.
But when we stretch out our hands, so useful and yet so fragile, we are looking at the hand of God. Because the one who ascended into heaven to reign is true man. The hand He once stretched out in infancy to His virgin Mother is the hand that holds all power in heaven and on earth—the same fragile hand that was pierced by the nail driven into the wood of the cross.
The Ascension of Jesus comforts us with this. The hand that holds all the power in the universe is a human hand that was once fragile like ours. The hand of Jesus now holds the scepter and rules over all things; He is seated on the throne at God’s right hand, exercising all power and authority.
And His reign is for us. He uses the power in His hand for us. His throne has been established for our salvation.
Jesus’ throne and His power are not only for us—they are among us. Just as His human hand is filled with all the fullness of God, so the human members of His body, the church, are also filled with the power of God despite our own fragility and weakness.
Jesus throne is above every power at the right hand of God, and it is also among us, where His Gospel is preached and people are baptized.
Jesus throne is above every power at the right hand of God.
Why do we confess in the creed that Jesus “ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty?” Jesus did a lot of other things that we don’t mention in the creed. Why confess this?
In part, it is because Jesus’ exaltation to reign over the earth in His ascension is a comfort for us when we experience the apparent weakness of His kingdom on earth.It didn’t look to the world like Jesus was the Messiah who reigned over the ends of the earth. The last the world saw of Jesus was His crucifixion and burial. They saw Him die in weakness and shame.And today the church fares no better. Few people seem to listen to the preaching of the Gospel, and of those who do listen, few are among the people the world respects for their wealth or wisdom. Besides this, people in the church are very frail and weighed down by all sorts of struggles with sin and pain. If we only believed in what we saw of Jesus and His church in this world, we would likely conclude that Christ and His church are the most miserable people on earth—“of all men most to be pitied,” as St. Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.But the Ascension of Jesus tells us,” Take heart! Your Lord was once found in weakness and in the form of a slave. But now He is exalted above the highest heavens, and He reigns, Lord, and God, over all the earth.”In the flesh and blood that He shares with us, that He took up to bear our sins and griefs, He now rules the nations. No one can overcome our Lord or stay His hand—not any of the enemies we see arrayed against us whether in the culture or in the dark places in the heavenly realms. In His flesh and blood He is adored and worshipped by angels and men and rules even over those who do not trust in His name. In the flesh and blood that He shares with us He makes the demons cower in terror. At the human name “Jesus” they fall down in terror and shudder, because this man has been given the name that is above every name.In this way Jesus’ ascension gives the church confidence. It tells us that our Lord now reigns in power and might, and that we too will ascend to the Father to share in His glory with our Lord.But there is more good news in Jesus’ ascension. His throne is above every power at the right hand of God, but
It is also among us, where His Gospel is preached and people are baptized.
Jesus’ name is exalted above every other name in heaven and earth. His throne is at the right hand of God, far above all rule and authority.
But that doesn’t mean His throne and power are far and away from us. His name is among us and so is His throne and might.
There are people who drop names. They do it to get respect or favors on account of who they know. If you’re friends with a celebrity, or related to a famous person, it’s kind of hard not to tell other people about it. WE drop names because being associated with the famous person’s name elevates us.
Nations do this too. Weaker nations take refuge in the name of a stronger country. If a country is known to be under the protection of the United States, anyone who wants to threaten that country will have to think twice about whether or not they want to have a United States with a grudge against them. The name of the United States alone has power.
Jesus’ name is far above every other name that can be named or called upon, not only the name of famous people or nations, but also above the name of every angle, demon, or so-called god. “Jesus’ is a human name. It was given by Joseph at the command of an angel. But now the name of Jesus is spoken throughout the whole world. It is called upon in prayer. It is accorded the honor that belongs to the name “God.” What other human name has such honor? Jesus’ name is exalted and every knee will bow at it, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. That is what Jesus’ ascension shows and means.
But Jesus’ name is not only on high, above everything in creation. It is also on earth, among us, wherever His gospel is preached and where people are baptized in His name and by His authority.
Where Jesus’ name is, there His throne is. Where His throne is, He reigns in His might. “There is no other name under heaven given by which we must be saved,” Peter preached in the book of Acts. Jesus’ name saves. His throne is a throne of salvation, and it is found wherever His name is preached and wherever people are baptized in His name.
The Gospel for today teaches this. Before His ascension, Jesus sent His disciples to preach. They didn’t go out with a book of laws but with a message of good news and a baptism for the forgiveness of sins. And Mark says afterwards, “The Lord Jesus ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And the apostles went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them.
Wherever Jesus’ name is preached, the Lord is there working with the preaching, setting up His throne and bestowing His salvation from sin, death, and hell.
What a comfort this is when we look upon the apparent weaknesses of the church. We are fragile, like the bones and tendons in your hand. But with us is the Lord Jesus whenever His good news is preached and people are baptized. His kingdom comes there. His human hand which holds all the power of God works with the preaching of the Gospel and looses people from sin and condemnation, from the devil’s chains. In Baptism He places His name upon us and God’s right hand rests on us, shattering Satan’s dominion and sending him howling. His kingdom is shattered; the way Saddam Hussein’s was over the people of Iraq, when the armies that wore the name “U. S.” came pouring into his borders.
What is the good news that has this mighty power? Nothing else than what the apostles saw and witnessed00that Jesus was born of a virgin, crucified for us, buried, raised from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Jesus says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will saved,” not, “Whoever believes and lives a good life will be saved,” or “whoever believes and does enough good works to prove he is saved will be saved.”
Just “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Whoever believes that Jesus, true God and man, was crucified, died, and rose from the dead for us and is baptized will be saved. Jesus’ power and throne comes for our salvation when His work—and only His work—is proclaimed.
His throne and dwelling place is not only at the right hand of God, but among the little children who are baptized in His name, and the older little children whom He gathers to hear His Word.
This gives confidence to the church. If we look only at ourselves and the world around us, we will be discouraged and terrified, just like the disciples when they hid in the locked room before He appeared to them.
But if we look to His Word and commission, we will have courage and strength. Not that there is any in us. We are fragile, like a human hand. But God’s hand is also now human and it rests upon us and works with us. Jesus the ascended Lord doesn’t want His Gospel mumbled in a corner, but proclaimed with boldness to all creation. AS we confess our Lord Jesus and proclaim His Gospel, He is among us, seated on His throne, strengthening us. He works in us by His divine power in the word and delivers us from our sins. And He works with us in the word and baptism to keep us firm and to rescue other people from Satan’s dominion.
Let us give thanks to Him whose throne is on high, and also present among us, reigning in salvation.
The peace of God that passes understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria