Saturday, 28 May 2011

Risen, Ascended, Enthroned

In the last entry, I talked about the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus.  In this entry, I want to consider what happened afterwards.

The first claim that Christians make is that Jesus was raised from the dead:
  • Romans 1:4-5: Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God, when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit.
  • 1 Cor 15:3-4: What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
  • Philippians 3:10-12: I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
  • 1 Peter 1:3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The second claim is that Jesus ascended from Earth to Heaven:
  • John 20:17: Jesus said to her: "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father.  Instead, go to my brothers, and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father; to my God and your God."
  • Acts 1:9-11: He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
  • Hebrews 9:24: For Christ did not enter into the holy places made with hands, which are just figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
Finally, Christians believe that Jesus is now enthroned, i.e., in a position of glory and supreme authority:
  • Matt 28:18: Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me".
  • Ephesians 1:20-21: God raised Christ from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.
  • Phil 2:8-11: Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming 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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
It is important to bear in mind that the glorification of Jesus came only after He humbled Himself and obeyed God the Father.  This is a general Christian principle.  Indeed, Jesus said: "He who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt 23:12, Luke 14:11)

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