Theme: Jesus: Son of David, Son of God
This weeks lesson proves the authenticity of Scripture as it proclaims Jesus as Lord and King,
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet'”?
Psalm 110:1 also speaks of the Messiah’s position at the right hand of God in heaven and of His Lordship over all things in heaven and on earth. Jesus did not elaborate on this part of the verse because His first question had been enough to confound His enemies. But the rest of the verse as well as the psalm as a whole could hardly have been lost on them. Verse 1 is an oracle, that is, a direct and specific word from God – “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” – and what it tells us is that the Messiah was to reign over all things from heaven. We are familiar with the idea from the Apostles’ Creed, which many Christians recite together each week, for we say, “He [that is, Jesus] ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”
What does it mean to sit at God’s right hand? In the ancient world, to sit at a person’s right hand was to occupy a place of honor; a seat at the right hand of the host would be a place of honor at a dinner. But to sit at a king’s right hand was more than mere honor. It was to share in his rule. It signified participation in the royal dignity and power, like a son ruling with his father. This is what has happened to Jesus since His resurrection and the ascension to heaven which followed it.
Paul wrote about this to the Philippians, saying:
“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.”
What a tremendous gulf there is between God’s evaluation of His beloved Son and the scorn people had for Him when He was on earth, including the scorn of these very Pharisees. When He was here on earth Jesus was despised and rejected, harassed, and hated. At last He was unjustly arrested, tried, and cruelly executed. But God reversed all that, for God raised Him from the dead and received Him into heaven, saying, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
That is where Jesus is today. He is at God right hand, ruling over all things in heaven and on earth. And this is God’s doing. It is not up to us whether Jesus Christ will be Lord or not, Jesus is Lord, and God has made Him such. We can fight that Lordship and be broken by it. The verse says that Christ’s enemies will be made His footstool. Or we can submit to it in humble obedience with praise.
Most people’s image of Jesus is at best that of a baby in a manger. It is a sentimental picture best reserved for Christmas and other sentimental moments. Others picture Him hanging on a cross. That too is sentimental, though it is sentimentality of a different, pious sort. Jesus is not in a manger today; that is past. Nor is He hanging on a cross. That too is past since Jesus came once to die and after that to ascend to heaven to share in the fullness of God’s power and great glory. When Stephen, the first martyr, had his dying vision of the exalted Christ it was of Jesus standing at the right hand of God to receive him into heaven (Acts 7:55). When John had his vision of Jesus on the Isle of Patmos it was of one who was as God Himself. The apostle was so overcome by Jesus’ heavenly splendor that he fell at his feet as though dead (Revelation 1:17). We ought to recover this understanding of who Jesus is and where He is now, for if we did, we would worship Him better and with greater reverence.
Walter Chantry says, “Anyone who has caught a glimpse of the heavenly splendor and sovereign might of Christ would do well to imitate the saints of ages past. It is only appropriate to worship him with deep reverence. You may pour out great love in recognition of your personal relationship with him. He is your Lord. You are his and he is yours. However, you are not pals. He is Lord and Master. You are servant and disciple. He is infinitely above you in the scale of being. His throne holds sway over you for your present life and for assigning your eternal reward. A king is to be honored, confessed, obeyed and worshiped.” Indeed, adds Chantry, “Such humble gestures of adoration are the response required in the gospel. If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).”1
1 Walter J. Chantry, Praises for the King of Kings (Edinburgh and Carlisle, Pa: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1991), p. 59.
Why is it a problem to see Jesus as only the babe in the manger?
What does it mean to serve God? How can we teach this to others?
How do you neglect treating God as King and Lord of your life?