THE HIGHLY EXALTED CHRIST
That power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way (Eph. 1: 19b-23).
Jesus could go no lower than death. Death is the fate of the sinner; the body consigned to the dust from where it came and the soul consigned to eternal destruction, separated from God and never able to access Him again.
But it was impossible for death to hold Jesus because He had no sin of His own for which He had to pay. He suffered physical death and separation from the Father for the debt of the world, not for His own and, when the Father accepted the payment for sin’s debt, death could no longer hold Him captive.
It must have been the Father’s greatest moment when the Holy Spirit breathed life into Jesus again. He breathed life into the clay form of the first man, and that took power. But the power God used to raise Christ from the dead was greater power, because He lifted Him from the grave to the highest place in heaven and on earth. During His earthly life, Jesus was harassed by the devil who had the power to lure Him into independence from the Father and disobedience to His will. Jesus never succumbed to the devil’s temptations, but He willingly handed Himself over to death in obedience to the Father.
The Holy Spirit was there, in the tomb, waiting for the moment when He could release the life of God into Jesus’ physical body once again. Not only did He raise Jesus from death to life; He also raised Him from humiliation to exaltation. Jesus took His place at the right hand of the Father, carrying the position of all authority over every power that still claimed authority on earth. Every demonic being is subject to Him.
To be under His feet is a symbolic picture of the supreme power and authority Jesus has in the universe. In ancient times, a victorious king would put his foot on the neck of the vanquished ruler as a sign that he had conquered him (Josh. 10:24). Jesus has His feet on the necks of the devil and every demonic being under him. He has conquered them, and they are doomed. And He has His feet on the neck of death, the last enemy against us.
Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection, the guarantee that He will gather the harvest of men and women who have believed in Him and raise them up to share the glory of His resurrection with Him.
The Father also gave Jesus authority to rule the church. On one occasion a would-be disciple asked permission to follow Him. He wanted to be a part of the band of men who would accompany Him, night and day, year in and year out to learn from Him so that he could be like Him. Jesus declined his request with these words:
Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head (Matt. 8: 20).
As western-thinking people, we translate this statement to mean that Jesus was poor; He had no home and He could not, therefore, take on any more followers. Wrong!
Hebrew people would ask, “What do foxes do in dens; what do birds do in nests?” Dens and nests are the places of reproduction. Jesus was talking about reproducing Himself in the world. He was the head but He did not yet have a body on which to lay His head to reproduce Himself through it. Only after His death and resurrection, through the power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, was the church born.
Now He had a body, and the Father appointed Him to be head of this body, so that the church, under His authority, could be His representative on earth, reproducing Him in the lives of those who believe in Him.
Some spiritual leaders think that the church belongs to them. They treat the members as though they own them. They mistakenly believe that it is their job to build the church. But Jesus gave His disciples a mandate, and it was not to build His church. He informed them that He would build His church (Matt. 16:18). Their task was to make disciples (Matt 28: 19-20). They would be the living stones out of which He would build His church (1 Peter 2: 4-5).
We must beware of ministers, pastors and priests who lord it over the laity, who claim absolute authority over them and who bind people to themselves. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The shepherd’s job is to care for the sheep under the authority of the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5: 1-4), not to own or control them.
Jesus is the head, and when the body and the head are fused together and functioning as one, He is complete in His task to build the church.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com