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Utter Opposition

29 November 2011 by Neil

Q. 54. How is Christ exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God?
A. Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father, with all fullness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven and earth; and doth gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies; furnisheth his ministers and people with gifts and graces, and maketh intercession for them.

Q. 55. How doth Christ make intercession?
A. Christ maketh intercession, by his appearing in our nature continually before the Father in heaven, in the merit of his obedience and sacrifice on earth, declaring his will to have it applied to all believers; answering all accusations against them, and procuring for them quiet of conscience, notwithstanding daily failings, access with boldness to the throne of grace, and acceptance of their persons and services.

Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. We read this over and over in the Bible. But is he really sitting? Is he sometimes standing? Does he stand up and sit down again, and then do it some more? Is his head continuously craned to the left so that he can continuously whisper in God's ear to make continuous intercession for us? And as Thomas Aquinas socratically mused, does that mean that God the Father is at the left hand of Jesus, and thus in a position of lesser honour? Does Jesus sometimes wander away from the Father's right hand for a little while to do some other odd bits of work?

The geometry of the throne room is irrelevant.  Don't be so self-centered to think that God's throne is like your favourite armchair.

Once again, go back to Question 7: God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness and perfection, et cetera. No physical throne can seat him. He has a “right hand”, but not in any sense that a petty human such as you can imagine. But you protest: “Stephen saw Jesus literally standing at the right hand of God!”

Take another look (Acts 7:54-56). Stephen did not say that he saw “the right hand of God”. What Stephen saw was Jesus standing, and what Stephen comprehended was the position of power, might, authority and glory of the resurrected Son of God, the Christ. In utter opposition to the extent of the Son's many humiliations, Stephen saw this human Christ restored to the glory and honour that he had with the Father before he was human, in fact before there were humans, in fact before the world existed. Stephen saw the consummation of the astonishing journey of the Son from heaven to the depths, from Spirit to flesh, from unblemished to “sinful”, from life to death, from death to life, from earth to glory, and from subject to Judge.

Before the spit landed, before the rocks struck, before his body broke, and before his lifebreath thinned, Stephen saw that the weak carpenter who wouldn't defend himself from the Sanhedrin and the Romans had been exalted above all, with the royal authority to rule and welcome his sheep, and to judge and sentence his enemies.

Stephen didn't see a wistful pantywaist hoping to be asked into hearts. He didn't see a buddy or a conversationalist eager to have humans assign their preferred meaning of the moment to his sayings.  No.  Stephen saw God.  Stephen saw Almighty God, and it brought him confidence and joy, and bring on the stoning. That terrifies me, in a good way.