Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ps 119.173

Let your hand become my help, for I have chosen your precepts. Ps 119.173 

The right hand of God is a place of power. Jesus sits there by virtue of the name he bears, the name exalted above every name. He earned his position when he emptied himself of equality with God and made himself God’s human servant. He obeyed God’s will, sacrificed himself, and died as the perfect Lamb of God.

This is profound.
Jesus didn’t just win the prize because he did a better job of being human than the rest of us.
He did that, yes, and so he remains our instruction (Word made flesh) for the kind of righteous, holy, obedient life God requires.
But that’s not the main reason why the precious Second Person of the Trinity became human. He did it to bear the infinite offense of “Otherness.” This he did, and paid for it with his infinite life.
Humanity can now approach God with confidence because Jesus got there ahead of us. His being at God’s right hand is a perpetual intercession on our behalf, pleading mercy and help for us because he was where we are. 

To understand the magnitude of what God accomplished in Christ, we must think of what it means to be God’s Son.
He’s the One appointed by God as heir of all things.
Through him God made the worlds.
The Son was and is the brightness of God’s glory.
He is the expression—the image—of God’s person.
He upholds every thing by the word of his power.
This holy Son took it upon himself to purge the offense of humanity both for being other than God (iniquity) and for doing rebellion against God (transgression).

Thus he became the Mediator of a new covenant, a High Priest over the house of God.
Only, unlike earthly priests whose mediating work was never done, Jesus sat down, finished, at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
There Jesus stays, for the Lord said to him in David’s hearing, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."

This is important. Sometimes I think we have a very wrong idea of what God is doing at this point in the redemption story.
Jesus has gone back to heaven and his Holy Spirit has taken his place here. Frankly, the Spirit can do a better job than Jesus (Jesus said so himself) because he can dwell in and empower all of us at once. This makes him far more efficient in accomplishing the work of God than Jesus could ever have been had he remained on earth.

We’ve heard that Jesus is the head of his church but for all intents and purposes, that seems nominal. After all, the Spirit has taken over the management, growth and development of the Body of Christ on a global scale. So what is Jesus actually doing? Maybe he’s cooling his heels on the throne, sometimes twiddling his thumbs, sometimes leaning out to listen to some prayers, mostly just biding his time and keeping still until the Father lets him out to play. At which point, he’ll get on his white horse and come put a stop to this world as we know it.

Well, not exactly.

Many Old Testament verses spell out what goes on at the “right hand of God.” Even this short list creates an amazing picture of what it means, and if you can get your mind around it, that phrase is a euphemism for Christ.
Your right hand has become glorious in power. Your right hand has dashed the enemy in pieces.
You stretched out your right hand and the earth swallowed [the Egyptian army].
At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
You show your marvelous lovingkindness by your right hand.
Your right hand has held me up, your gentleness has made me great.
Your hand will find all your enemies. Your right hand will find those who hate you.
They did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them. But it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance, because you favored them.
In your majesty, ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness. Your right hand shall teach awesome things.
According to your name, O God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is full of righteousness.
That your beloved may be delivered, save with your right hand.
Your right hand upholds me.
The vineyard which your right hand has planted, and the branch that you made strong for yourself… Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, upon the son of man whom you made strong for yourself.
You have a mighty arm. Strong is your hand, and high is your right hand.
Your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by the arm of his strength.

Likewise many New Testament passages show us this same “right hand of God” now clothed in flesh, dripping love.
Jesus took a child and stood him in the midst of the disciples.
He touched a leper.
He put spittle and mud on the eyes of a blind man.
He laid his hand on the coffin of a widow’s dead son.
He took Jairus’s daughter by the hand and told her to get up.
He restored the severed ear of Malchus, servant of the high priest.
He worked in a carpenter shop and well knew the feel of wood rough and smooth, and the throb of a hammer driving nails.
He washed the feet of his betrayer.
He broke bread, and shared the Passover cup with his friends.

But the most tender thing those hands ever did was let Roman spikes pierce them and hold him to the cross.
Hands that separated the waters above from the waters below,
crafted the mountains and continents after drawing the land out of the sea,
hung the stars and planets in order throughout the cosmos.
Hands that shaped nations and moved armies, raised up and brought down empires.
Hands that were watched by myriad angels for the merest flicker summoning them to his defense.
Hands that—seemingly helpless but infinitely powerful—now wait with the Majesty of Heaven.
Hands that will welcome home every saint and distribute our rewards.

Hands that, even now, will become our help if we ask.
What’s stopping you?

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