Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December 14, 2011 … Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension

Passage of the Day: Philippians 2: 9 [see highlight passage in bold/underlined] …
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

My Journal for Today: If you’ve been following this month as I dwell with John MacArthur on the subject of Christology, and even more specifically on Christ’s character of humility, it may seem like MacArthur and I are lingering with redundancy on certain elements of the Apostle Paul’s passage in Phil. 2: 5-11. Well, this may be so; but I can see that MacArthur is doing so because of the importance of the subject matter – and that is CHRIST. If we are to live up to the exhortation [in Phil. 2: 5] to be like Christ, then it’s vastly important that we understand EXACTLY Whom we’re emulating – and that’s our Lord and Savior. Hence MacArthur is dwelling [and I’m joining him] on the important aspects of Christ’s character this month. As I’ve said along the way, ”Stay tuned!”

Here we are again, looking at Christ’s exaltation after His death, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven; and I must admit that if Strength for Today had not lingered on this subject, I would not likely have seen how important and wonderful this matter of Christ being exalted is to our knowing our Lord. Yesterday MacArthur mentioned – in passing – four components of Christ’s exaltation that we need to understand: resurrection, ascension, coronation, and intercession. Today our author/shepherd elaborates on the first two of these; and the first is RESURRECTION.

In Acts 13: 32 – 39 [PLEASE be sure to read this – linked for you here in NASB!], we read Dr. Luke’s account of Paul preaching to the Jews (and some Gentiles present) in a Synagogue in Antioch. There Paul gave the people a history lesson, preaching the good news of Christ being the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies [several are referenced in this passage], Christ having been raised from the dead to save God’s people from their sin. In this passage in Acts, Paul’s preaching quoted from Ps. 2: 7, Is. 55: 3, and especially from Ps. 16: 10 where David had prophesied that The Messiah would never decay in the ground [a prophesy of Christ’s resurrection]. And MacArthur emphasizes this wondrous lesson where he writes, “Christ’s death and resurrection provided forgiveness and freedom from sin, the law, and death.” And we Christians, especially in these days of commercialized Christmases, need to take time to dwell on this gift of amazing grace to all mankind. And we need to recognize that without the truth of the resurrection, Christianity falls into nothingness.

Next we read from Acts 1: 9 – 11 and 2: 33 an exposition of the second component of Christ’s exaltation, … His ASCENSION, where our Messiah and Savior was lifted up to sit at the Right Hand of God, The Father, on His Throne of Glory in Heaven. And my beloved, we need to dwell on this! We will be exalted as well; but not until we live out this Spirit-enabled life as Christ’s witnesses (see Act. 1: 8); and we are either resurrected after our death or we are transported to Glory when Christ comes again. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wrap my finite mind around this latter truth … that God would think so much of ME that He would humble Himself as a man, walk on earth displaying His deity, die in humiliation on a cross, be resurrected by God’s Spirit, ascend to Heaven, be re-coronated by God, the Father, into His former Glory, and now to intercede for ME in Heaven. No, I may not completely grasp these truths; but I believe them as THE GOSPEL truth!

And tomorrow we’ll go into more of Christ’s exaltation … so, (yes), stay tuned!

My Prayer Today: And with Your charge, Lord, to witness in Your name, I go forth. Amen

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