Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV) 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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
“Christ’s ascension not only results in priestly presence, but it also amounts to royal rule. The creedal statement that he is ‘seated at the right hand of God’ comes from a psalm that is no less political as it is religious (Ps 110:1). The notion of ‘ascension’ evokes in and by itself the image of the one who ‘came to the ancient One and was presented before him’ and to whom ‘was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him’ and whose ‘dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed’ (Dan 7:13-14). Ascension is a political act.” [Edwin Chr. van Driel, What Is Jesus Doing?, 6-7]
The ascended Jesus is King and Lord over all. He holds the greatest office. Every president, prime minister, dictator, power or authority is under him. What great peace and joy we have knowing that our ascended King Jesus is in control.
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, I submit to your established royal king Jesus. With him I find life and salvation. Help me to live in his ways and trust in his care and control over all things. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship for “King Jesus” by Matt Redman (click here).
Hebrews 4:14-15 (NIV) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Rom 8:31,34 (NIV) If God is for us, who can be against us?… Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
“The resurrected and ascended Christ intercedes for us, reconciles us, and blesses us as a priest; rules us as a king; and speaks to us as a prophet. The most straightforward answer to the question ‘What is Jesus doing?’ is that he prays for us… Whatever we do, and wherever we go, we are not alone. With each step, Jesus himself prays for us.” [Edwin Chr. van Driel, What Is Jesus Doing?, 4, 5]
The ascended Jesus, is not idle in our current troubles. He is one who is deeply involved right now through prayer and intercession. When Jesus intercedes, it is not with vague and general prayers. He empathizes with our personal and specific struggles, and intercedes for us with personal and specific prayers.
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for the great high priest I have in Jesus. My heart is comforted and encouraged by knowing Jesus empathizes with weaknesses. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Same Jesus” by Matt Redman (click here).
John 20:16-17 (NIV) Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”
“Some have thought that his resurrection body was so new, so different, that he didn’t want Mary trying to touch him and getting the wrong idea, thinking he was a ghost. That seems hardly likely in view of the other accounts, and the subsequent invitation to Thomas to touch and see (though admittedly that was a week later). I think it’s more likely that it was a warning to Mary that the new relationship with him was not going to be like the old one.” [NT Wright, John for Everyone, Part 2, 146]
Like Mary, we may have a version of Jesus that we must let go, the grounded, floor-level Jesus. The ascended Jesus is far more glorious, far more stunning, far more in control, far more trustworthy, and far more involved than we realize. May we encounter and proclaim the ascended Jesus.
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, may your Spirit help me to encounter the ascended Jesus in a fresh way today. I let go of old ways and open my heart to receive a new revelation of Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Let There Be Wonder” by Matt Redman (click here).
John 13:3-4 (NIV) Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
“…the point is not to say, ‘Fancy! Despite the fact that he had come from God, he nevertheless washed their feet!’ The point is to say, ‘No: washing their feet was what he had to do, precisely because he had come from God.’ The footwashing – and the crucifixion itself, to which it pointed – was Jesus’ way of showing who God was and is.” [NT Wright, John for Everyone, Part 2, 44]
In this world, the path to ascension is by self-service. In God’s kingdom, the path to ascension is by serving others. The ascended Jesus, who is above all, is also the one who bowed low to wash his disciples’ feet. When we meet the ascended Jesus, we find a new way to live that is unlike this world. Jesus didn’t love despite being ascended. Jesus loved because he was the ascended one.
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, as I behold Jesus, the ascended one, may I find myself drawn to serve and love others as Jesus did. He is the one whom I seek. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song “After You” by UPPERROOM (click here).
Let’s read aloud together the following passage, creed, and prayer:
Ephesians 1:19-21 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
And born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.
He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the great joy and comfort that comes in confessing that Jesus is our Lord and Lord over all. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song “God and God Alone” by Christ Tomlin (click here).