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Why Jesus?

Part 6: King of kings

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(7/7) Statistically most men are not impressed by Jesus. Statistically most men are not fearful of Jesus. And I believe that those men who do reject Jesus, reject Him because they only have a partial view of Jesus. All they see is the humble, unimportant, unpowerful, beaten, abused Galilean carpenter. They don’t know that He is still alive. That he’s King, Lord, and God. That our Commander-in-Chief is a triumphant, warrior… a victor… that he’s the kind of inspiring God that men should seek to be like. That He is the exalted, glorious, risen, ascended, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And that He is worthy of our worship. And so today as promised, I want to take you from the promise of the resurrection, to the glorious ascension of Jesus. I want to look at Acts and Revelation and other Scriptures as much as we have time for to see what happened after the Gospels were written. So we’ll start in Acts Chapter 1 and will look at the ascension of Jesus. Here Luke, the doctor, writes in the intro to Acts, beginning at verse one…

“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
After he said this, 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" (Acts 1:1-11; NIV)

1. Opening Heaven for us

Jesus is alive! The angels told the disciples, “When the time comes Jesus will come back in the same way you have seen him go...” That means that Jesus is alive and well today. That Jesus rose physically and bodily from the grave… for 40 days He proved to everyone that he was in fact alive… that he had conquered sin and death… and then Jesus ascended to heaven and he’s in heaven today. Today Jesus has a glorified, resurrected, physical body. He rose in a glorified, resurrected, physical body. He ascended in a glorified, resurrected, physical body and he will return in the same way that he went… in a glorified, resurrected, physical body.

But when he rose… when he ascended… he opened the door to heaven. Some of you may have wondered, “What, did God do with the believers? What did God do with the people who were trusting in Jesus, the Old Testament Jews who loved him and we’re waiting for him? What did he do with them if heaven wasn’t open and Jesus hadn’t ascended?

Well Luke 16 records that, some were taken to a place of comfort… while others… a place of agony... it’s not purgatory and it’s not hell (Luke 16:22-26). They were simply taken to a place and there they were held. It was a place that was fair and a place of justice. Luke records that they got what they deserved. “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (Luke 16:25). Now Jesus gives us a glimpse of this time before He offered himself for the sins of the world… before His ascension… not to create doctrine on the after-life, but to illustrate the finality of death and the importance of our choices today.

Some Bible teachers will say that Jesus went to hell when he died, but he didn’t. Do you remember what He said on the cross to the thief, “Today, you will be with me,” where? “in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Hell is not paradise… those aren’t synonyms. Baltimore isn’t even paradise, right? I mean, it’s not. Jesus said, “I’ll see you in Paradise.”

Paradise is that place where people who love Jesus were waiting for Him. They were waiting for His dying sacrifice… for his resurrection… and his ascension to open heaven. That’s where they were waiting for Jesus. So Jesus went to that place and three days later he rose. 40 days after that he ascended into heaven and Ephesians 4:8 says, “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train...” So Jesus ascended… He opened heaven with all of the Old Testament saints… all those who had been waiting for the forgiveness of sin through the dying and rising of Jesus. And so they all were taken with him in his ascension into heaven. So, that today, if you die, Paul tells the Corinthians, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). If we die today… if we know Jesus… if we’ve trusted Jesus… we don’t go to hell… we don’t go to some middle ground… some holding place… instead we go directly to heaven to be with Jesus, because He has opened heaven for us.

2. Ruling and Reigning over us

So Jesus ascended into heaven… He took Old Testament saints with him… and then he was seated at the right hand of God the Father. And this concept of the right hand in Scripture is very important. Because with your right hand you shake, you make treaties, you enter into covenant... and so to be seated at the right hand of someone is the seat of authority and preeminence and prominence and respect. It’s a place where Jesus says, “In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One” (Matthew 26:64).

So, Jesus is alive today. In a glorified, resurrected, physical body… He’s in his glorious exaltation in heaven… He is seated at the right hand of God the Father… and He is seated Scripture says, “At the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

The throne is one of my favorite images in all of Scripture. This concept of the throne, appears about 45 times in the Book of Revelation and I love this promise from Revelation Chapter 3: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne" (Revelation 3:21). Revelation repeatedly shows us heavenly scenes where the centerpiece is the throne and seated on the throne is Jesus, ruling and reigning as King, Lord, God, Warrior and Savior.

It is important for us to have this view of King Jesus because He has conquered Satan… He has ascended into heaven… He has been honored with the seat at the right hand of the Father… He has been seated on the throne of heaven.

This matters, because so many of us have a deficient picture of Jesus. When we think of Jesus, we don’t think of anyone who’s still alive. We don’t think of anyone who’s in authority over our world. We don’t think of anyone who can help us.... Who can answer our prayer... Who can make any difference in our lives… Yet the image… the concept of Jesus high and exalted as our eternal God, seated at the right hand of the Father on the throne in heaven. That’s a Jesus we can pray to. That’s a Jesus we can worship. That’s a Jesus that we should respect, fear, and serve… we should… because His throne is in heaven. It extends over all creation. That is the concept of the exaltation of Jesus… that he is supreme… that he’s over all people, times, places, circumstances, religions, perspectives, ideologies, preferences, and any such thing.

I’ll read an example to you about the absolute claims of Jesus rule and reign from his throne in glory. In Matthew in 11:27, He said, “All things have been committed to me by my Father.” In John 3:35, “The Father… has placed everything in my hands.” Everything is in the hands of Jesus… nations, kings, kingdoms, philosophies, religions, times, places, even tragedies. All are in the hands of Jesus. He is our sovereign Lord. There is nothing beyond the control of His hand.

In Colossians it says, “He is the image of the invisible God… He is before all things… He is the head of the church… He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy” (Colossians 1:15-18).

This is a big Jesus. If you and I were to see Jesus today we would see him on the throne, high and exalted, ruling and reigning over everyone and everything. Like Isaiah, we’d cry out "Woe to me! My eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty" (Isaiah 6:5). We would be undone, broken, and humbled, because in the presence of such majesty we would have to acknowledge our sinfulness… our unworthiness… and you and I would naturally worship him because that is the reason that we were made, to worship that man, the risen, glorified, exalted, ruling, reigning Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Preparing a place for us

Now some of you might say, “This sounds very exclusive.” And it is. But it is also very inclusive and this is the paradox of Jesus. He is very exclusive in that He says, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There is no God but him… there is no life, but in him… there is no forgiveness of sin, but in him. Very exclusive, but very inclusive in that every nation, tribe, language, tongue, color, background, and sexual orientation are welcome to repent of sin and trust in Him.

Jesus is exclusive and he alone reigns as supreme, and the only God, but he is very inclusive, in that he invites everyone to taste of his grace, to be forgiven of their sin, and to spend forever with him. What this means practically is that Jesus is supreme, the only God, ruling and reigning over the living and the dead. He rules over all the nations, all the Kings, all the kingdoms, all the issues, all the ideologies, all the philosophies, and there is nothing above Jesus. He rules and reigns supreme over all. That is the Jesus we’re talking about when we speak of the Jesus of the Bible who is seated on his throne, in heaven at the right hand of the Father.

And not only is Jesus alive and ruling and reigning with that kind of authority and power. But He loves us and he intercedes for us. Jesus Christ in his glorified, resurrected, exalted, body remains fully God, fully man. First Timothy 2:5 says, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” “Christ Jesus, who… is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). So when we pray to Jesus, we’re not just praying to someone that we hope will hear us. We’re praying to someone who we know is alive and who alone can mediate… can intercede between us and the Father and see that our prayers are heard and answered.

And this is so amazing it just keeps getting better. Not only do we have these benefits during this life because of the ascension of Jesus, back to heaven. But he has gone there to prepare a place for us so that either upon his coming or our going we’ll be with him forever, in heaven. He said this in John 14:2-3, “In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Jesus lived the life we could not live. He died the death we should have died. He rose for our victory over Satan, sin, and death. He appeared for 40 days, he ascended into heaven, in a glorified resurrected body. He has gone and prepared a place for his people. All who die in faith following Him will find themselves in His kingdom where there is no sickness, no sin, no death, no evil, no injustice or cruelty. This is the kingdom that God intended for you and I before sin corrupted everything. But the only way that we have any possibility of eternal life in heaven, is through Jesus, ascending and opening heaven and enabling us by his love to follow. Those are the benefits of serving the living, glorified, resurrected, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ in heaven.

So as we close my hope would be that just because Jesus has ascended that he and his commands would not be forgotten… that you would come to repentance... that you would acknowledge that Jesus is alive and you would give him your sin today. I hope that today you have a clear picture of Him seated on the throne and that you have responded to Him by the faith and grace that He has given to you; always remembering that He is with us even to the end of the age.

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