We’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In particular we’ve been looking at how Christ was exalted by his resurrection. We’ve seen that Christ was exalted by moving from a dead state to a living state and by the fact that all three members of the Trinity raised him. We’ve also seen that Christ’s resurrection declared that he was the Son of God, had satisfied divine justice and defeated death and Satan. This week I want to show that by his resurrection Jesus became the Lord of the living and the dead.
In one sense, Jesus is Lord of all as he is God himself and the creator of all things. Speaking of Jesus, Paul says: ‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 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. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ (Colossians 1:15-17). Jesus is clearly Lord of all by his status as God and his work as creator.
But when Jesus was raised from the dead he was exalted over all mankind in a particular way. After his resurrection, Jesus meets with his disciples: ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”‘ (Matthew 28:18). Now that Jesus has been raised from the dead, he has a new God-given authority in heaven and earth.
But how far does Christ’s dominion extend? Paul says that every knee will one day show subjection to the rule of Christ: ‘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, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2:8-11).
So Jesus was exalted by his resurrection as it placed him in a position of authority over everything. In fact, this was one of the purposes behind Jesus coming into the world, dying and rising again. Paul says: ‘For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living’ (Romans 14:9).
So whether you are dead or alive, Jesus has now been exalted over you and is your Lord. What does that mean? You had better treat him as Lord! The Psalmist says: ‘Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him’ (Psalm 2:12).
How do you kiss the Son lest he be angry? Trust in him for the forgiveness of sins and you will be one of those who take refuge in him.
So have you bowed the knee to the Lord of all and found safety in him? Do you seek to continue exalting him as Lord of all?