Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for all time!
– Hebrews 13:8
While the work of Christ in this world is often our focus, we must never forget about the Royalty of Christ as He is “seated at the right hand of God” according to Colossians 3:1. In our quest to know who He is, we often bring Him only to our level. We humanize Christ across the centuries, but in reality, His existence as a human being was a mere moment in time for our Eternal King. We must be as Paul encourages us to be in Colossians 3:1, “seeking the things above” in the “heavenly realms” (see also Ephesians 1:20).
To understand Christ, we must comprehend His divinity, immortality, and above all, His place at the side of God in eternity. In Acts 1:9-11 we get the story of Christ’s final ascension back to His Father. Notice a few details from the passage:
(a) They were outside of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives according to 1:12. It is said to be a Sabbath’s day journey which is roughly the equivalent of half a mile.
(b) 1:9 says a cloud “took him away from their eyes after He was lifted up.” Nothing about this is to be natural. This is a supernatural event, the last of Jesus’ miracles in the presence of these Apostles. Notice that it’s not as dramatic as Elijah’s departure in 2 Kings 2. That lack of bombastic showiness seems to reflect the ministry of Christ.
(c) It is quite fitting that they kept looking and had to be encouraged by angels in 1:11 to return home. Angels were elsewhere described as “men” in Genesis 18 (i.e. Abraham).
(d) They are told that Jesus will appear again just as they “saw Him going into Heaven” in 1:11. That word “heaven” doesn’t necessarily mean the “abode of God.” It could merely mean the visible heavens (i.e. sky, clouds, etc).
We are given a description of that return in several passages. First Corinthians 15:52 says it will happen “in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye with the sound of a trumpet,” First Thessalonians 1:7 says “Jesus will be revealed with His mighty angels,” 2 Peter 3:10 says “the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night,” and Revelation 1:7 says “He is coming with the clouds.” All of these thoughts should give hope for the Christian who longs for the prize of heaven as Paul did in Philippians 1:21 when he said, “for me to live is Christ and die is gain.”
As the risen Messiah, Jesus now sits on the throne awaiting His return. Until then, He has set His children about the task of teaching, baptizing, and making disciples (see Matthew 28:19).
Revelation describes Him as the “First and the Last, the Living One who was dead but is alive for all time,” (Revelation 1:17-18). In that state, He still pays attention to His children. Consider the letters to the seven churches of Revelation. John didn’t write those letters, he merely, “wrote those things that he saw – things that are and things that are to take place,” (Revelation 1:19). In each of those letters to the churches, Christ says, “I know you,” (see Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19, 3:1, 8, 15). That idea encourages us to appreciate Christ’s role in our lives still to this day. He is nor ambivalent or unaware of our works bidding His time in heaven awaiting the end of this world. He is involved in our lives.
Consider as well, His role in the conversion of Paul. Jesus Himself spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. In fact, Christ asks Paul, “why are you persecuting me?” in 9:4. Clearly, Paul’s persecution was against the Church as he “breathed threat and murder against the disciples of the Lord” in 9:1. Jesus took those actions against His disciples as action against Himself. That certainly means the Lord sees His work in this world as active and alive as long as His disciples serve Him and action against His bride is action against Him.
His divinity will also be evident at the end of time. Christ describes the Day of Judgment in Mark 13. He says that on that day, “we will see the Son of Man coming in clouds, with great power and glory. And at that time, He (God) will send His angels and will gather His elect from the four winds” (see 13:26-27).
He also says “concerning that day, no one knows, neither the angels of heaven nor the Son, but the Father only,” (Matthew 24:36) and He commands us to “be alert, because we do not know on what day the Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42).
Revelation describes Christ as the lamb several times (see Revelation 5:6, 7:9-10, 17:4, 21:23). That description is not coincidental when you consider Isaiah 53:7 and also John 1:29. In our eternal home, the fullness of Christ’s sacrifice will be realized. His disciples will spend eternity in Heaven with the one who “will see the labor of His soul and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).
I hope we love the work of Christ in this world. His life was truly the most important life ever to grace this world. His deeds, teachings, and sacrifice are the most important moments in the history of this world. His life is valuable, eternal, and consistent with Scripture. He is our Creator, our Example, our Teacher, the greatest Miracle Worker, the only Messiah, and the Highest King. May we honor those ideas each and every day. Today, I challenge you to remember the words of Romans 14:11 and live by them: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by Permission. All rights reserved.