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Christ physically ascended on our behalf, just as he came down to earth physically on our account, and he is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father, preparing a place for us, and also sends us his Spirit.
Christ is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father and also sends us his Spirit.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Arise, my soul, arise! Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding Sacrifice in my behalf appears.
Before the throne my Surety stands;
My name is written on his hands.
He ever lives above, for me to intercede,
His all-redeeming love, his precious blood to plead.
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
Five bleeding wounds he bears, received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers, they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, oh, forgive!” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die.”
My God is reconciled; his pardoning voice I hear.
He owns me for his child; I can no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba Father!” cry.
The ascension is Christ’s enthronement as King over all. When he ascended, he showed that he ruled over death and that he continues to assume his place of authority over all the world. The very One who created the world is the One who continues to rule it by the word of his power.
Now when we say that Christ rules, we mean that in his ascension he assumed the office of King that he had before he came to earth. While on this earth, he continued to maintain all things and accomplish all his purposes, even to his death and resurrection. But as now the ascended Lord, he is Lord over all. He is the One who controls all things so that they are working for the good of those who love him.
But he’s not simply King. He, in his ascension, is interceding for us at the right hand of God. He continues to fulfill the office of a priest as well, providing what is needed as advocacy and intercession before the Father. As we repent of our sins, as we pray to God, our sins are taken by the Son of God, acting as a priest on our behalf, as the One who now intercedes for us, so that God will listen and act in our behalf.
Not only is Jesus acting as that King and as Priest in our behalf, he continues to send his Word into our hearts by the work of his Spirit. The Holy Spirit, remember, was to testify of Christ. The very reason that we can understand God’s Word—not just its logic but its significance—is that the Holy Spirit sent by Christ himself is opening our hearts to it. This means that as that Word comes from Christ and is given to us by his Spirit, Jesus continues to operate as a prophet on our behalf, giving us the Word of God so that we can walk with him, understand him, and understand his grace.
All this means that Christ in his ascension is operating for our present good. He’s ruling our present circumstances. He’s advocating for us in our present circumstances. He’s sending his Word into our hearts so that we can handle our present circumstances. But that’s not the end of his job.
As Prophet, Priest, and King, he’s also preparing for our future. All things are being worked toward a divine end, a culmination, a consummation of the glory of God by the One who rules over all for the purposes that he has designed. He, as King, is preparing a place for us of God’s great blessing. As Priest he is going to ensure that when we stand before the throne of judgment, we will be made right before God by the cleansing work of his blood. Jesus’s priestly nature will again come to the fore as we bow before the Lamb of God, who by his blood purchased men and women for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. That priestly role Christ will also fulfill as he prepares a future for us. And, ultimately by his Spirit, he will secure all who are his own. So that God by his Spirit is accomplishing his will not only in the present world but also in eternity. He is securing by the power of the Spirit all that God intends, sent by the purposes, power, and ultimate love of Jesus Christ.
That ascended Lord is the One who, by being Prophet, Priest, and King, is ruling over our present and preparing for our future.
Interceding Savior, you have not stopped showing compassion for your people. You were tempted in every way as we are, and you now intercede for us when we are tempted. Plead for us to your Father, for you are our advocate before the judge of all the earth. Amen.