… 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. (verses 19-23)
From the depths to the heights, the rushing upward movement of our Saviour’s exaltation is stunning.
The context for this ascendant surge is described in Philippians 2. Jesus, who was in very nature God, set it all aside and came down. He made himself nothing by taking on human likeness. He embraced the nature of a servant, going so far as to submit himself to death, and that of the most humiliating kind – execution on a cross. Oh, the depths of his humility.
Which makes his exaltation all the more striking. Triumphing over the iron-grip of death, Jesus rose from the grave, striding upward into glorious life – indeed life eternal. But his ascendant motion didn’t stop there. It continued heavenward, pressing on to the heights, surpassing all rule and authority in all creation, ascending to the very right hand of the Father himself, who placed all things under his feet, so that he is Lord of all. Oh, the heights of his exaltation.
How do I enter into this reality? How do I honour the position of my Lord?
(1) First, I submit to the power of the risen Christ. The upward surge of his ascendancy demonstrates the incomparable power he has made available to all who believe (verse 19), me included. I submit to that power by apprehending its magnitude, by believing its capacity is available, by crying out in prayer, and by waiting in faith for the Lord’s response. He is able. I believe.
(2) Second, I walk in full faith that he is supreme. There is nothing – no rule or authority or power or dominion – that is higher than Jesus. Therefore, I honour him by trusting fully. There is no life circumstance, nor human power, nor spiritual attack that is greater than my Lord. As Paul says elsewhere, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). When fear rises in any circumstance, I lean into my Lord who is above all things.
(3) Third, I submit to his lordship as head of the church. As a follower of Jesus, I am part of his body, meaning he is “head over everything” for me. My family and finances and relationships and challenges and career and dreams and goals and struggles and gifts and on and on, are all embraced in his lordship. I honour my exalted Lord by placing them all in his hands, recognizing that not only is he sovereign, but that he cares for each detail, knowing intimately the hairs of my head and the moments of my life.
All the above is much easier to write neatly in successive paragraphs than it is to achieve. But this is the pathway of honouring him. I choose to step into the path, knowing that many of my steps will be faltering, but that he welcomes me “further up and further in,” again and again.
Risen Jesus, I honour you as Lord, seated at the Father’s right hand, exalted above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given in all time and eternity. Strengthen my feet to walk in your ways. To your glory. Amen.
Pray: Take the words of the scripture above and turn them into a prayer of praise. Honour Jesus. Take your own circumstances and turn them to faith-filled petitions, trusting that he is above all. He is able.