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A Servant is not Greater

30 November 2011 by Daniel

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.

There once was a man whom God gifted by granting him a deep hunger for, and understanding of, His word. As the man began to devour God's word, he simultaneously became aware that he was able to expound and explain what he was being made aware of in God's word, with clarity and conviction. Those around him in the church encouraged him to exercise this gift, which they understood to be the gift of a teacher of God's word.

In the years that followed this man began to exercise this gift, and though he earnestly guarded himself against taking credit for God's gift, yet some secret part of him quietly nursed the notion that he was special on account of his gifting.

As the years went on, he showed himself to be approved, filling the pulpit and feeding the flock God's word. But his zeal for God's word, as pure as it was at the outset, began to decay ever so slowly that he wasn't even aware of the cancer of self slowly uprooting and displacing the word the Lord had done. And so there came a day when he set pen to paper to write the next sermon, and found himself dry as a funeral drum.

The next day he delivered the pathetic, still-born sermon he had labored all that week to write. It was received with such yawning disinterest that each word seemed heavier and more burdensome than the last. After the service finally ended he fled home, shut himself in a closet, and wept his heart out to the Lord. How had he become such an empty, prancing peacock? He finally himself as he had become, and he loathed himself and was all but consumed by the shame of his sin, and the damage it undoubtedly had caused to others. He was like that man in scripture, who understood himself to be a wretch, and could only cry that God be merciful to him: the sinner.

In the days that followed, God answered that prayer and he found again a genuine humility. This the Lord used to tear down all that the man had exalted over the years, and through this the Lord taught him again to hate his own pride and praise. When the man stood in the pulpit the following Sunday, the Lord was exalted in Him. He came to God's word, trembling to handle it, and with utter reliance on the Lord, that gift shone anew, to the praise of God's glory, and the feeding of the flock.

Do you see that the Lord exalted this man in the end, by first humiliating him? God didn't begin in the middle somewhere, but brought the man to <>nothing in that every aspect of his exaltation was owed entirely to the Lord. Had God failed to bring this man to nothing, God could not have exalted him: you see God will not share His glory. When you can see this, you will understand, in some small way, what something more about how Christ was exalted by God the Father.

Christ humbled Himself to the point of emptiness when He took on human flesh so that when God exalted Christ, He didn't just raise Him up to the highest honor, but raised Him up from the lowest humiliation to that highest honor. Had Christ not been humbled first, His exaltation would have been diminished. It is one glory to leap over the highest hurdle, and another to do the same having made that leap from the deepest pit. The exaltation of Christ was magnified by and through His humiliation.

There is no higher honor than to sit at God's right hand. Yet this honor, by itself, was not sufficient an honor to justly exalt Christ. In order to honor Christ with that honor that an honor worthy of Him, Christ had to be exalted from the lowest humiliation. Thinking about how the Lord honored Christ is a good and worthy meditation; but it is also a truth that has application. If God exalts Christ in this way, He will continue to do so in Christ's servants. Do not be alarmed therefore when the Lord tears down a thing. It may be that the Lord is exalting Christ in building it up.