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 sitting in God’s presence. We’ve seen that Christ’s session at God’s right hand gives him all favour from God. This week I want to show that Christ should be exalted because he has fullness of joy at God’s right hand.
When people are exalted and then experience great joy in the situation, it gives them further exaltation. Whereas if someone is in a place of honour and they are sour about it, we don’t feel that we should honour them. I saw a recent example of this when our family went on a cruise ship for our recent holidays. There was a competition that involved the whole ship and surprisingly my children won! When the winners were announced, Joshua and Philippa were allowed to go up on the stage to receive trophies. My wife commented that I got some good photos of them while they were up there, but it wasn’t that hard – they didn’t stop smiling the entire time they were on stage! And I think that when people saw their joy in exaltation, they clapped all the more.
When Jesus sat down in God’s presence he did so with great joy. Peter says in Acts 2: ‘But God raised him [Jesus] from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him: ” ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear’ (Acts 2:24-33).
Peter quotes from Psalm 16 and proves that David was talking about Jesus. David prophesied that the Christ would be raised to life, go into God’s presence and have great joy. And this is what he has done.
So Jesus deserves our exaltation by his sitting at the right hand of God. But he also deserves our exaltation because he sits there with joy. He certainly deserves the place of such favour.
So what are you going to do about the news that the Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God and now sits there with fullness of joy? The Bible encourages you to exalt him by submitting to his rule with repentance and faith. And if you do, then you also will be resurrected, ascend into God’s presence and be filled with joy one day too.
So will you exalt Christ by submitting in repentance and faith?