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“When he ascended on high, He led captivity

captive, and gave gifts to men” (Ephesians 4:8).

Our Friend In High Places

In an election year such as this the subject of campaign financing can make a cynic out of anyone. In an effort to curry future favors from elected officials, many individuals and corporations contribute heavily to political campaigns — sometimes even to opposing candidates — in order to be certain that their special interests will be given attention. Money talks, as they say. Those who have big money to give can purchase influence, often leaving the rest of us feeling left out of the picture. That’s just the way it is in politics; there’s a price you have to pay if you want to have a friend in high places.

Many Blessings

Believers in Christ, however, are never disenfranchised, for our truest and most loyal Friend has now ascended to the highest office of all. After taking on the burden of our sins, Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross. Now our risen Lord has taken His place of glory at the right hand of the Father, to rule eternally over all things. We didn’t elect Him to this office — the Father did. He chose His Son to be our Savior and King in eternity, and brought about our salvation according to His set place and in His set time.

Christ was victorious over sin and death, and to the Victor belongs the spoils. From His place of glory at the right hand of His father, our powerful Friend showers many favors upon us:

* He is personally present with us at all times, at the same time

that He is at the right hand of the Father (Mt. 28:20). * He sympathizes with our weaknesses, since He shares our humanity

(Heb. 4:15). * He makes intercession with the Father for His saints (Rom. 8:34). * He hears and acts on our prayers (Jn. 14:13). * He makes all things work for our good (Rom. 8:28). * He sends the Holy Spirit to comfort and instruct (Jn. 16:7). * He nourishes and cherishes His Church (Eph. 5:29). * He prepares an eternal dwelling for us in heaven (Jn. 14:2). * He gives us faithful servants, pastors and teachers, to build us

up in faith and to equip us for His service (Eph. 4:11).

All these promises are displayed for us in God’s Word like precious jewels, showing that our Lord is nothing short of lavish toward us with His blessings. Obviously it is the good pleasure of our King to give His attention to our every need and concern — but at what cost? In many cases the attention of the powerful comes only in exchange for hefty contributions that have helped to get a man where he is. Each of us needed to ask: “What have I contributed to help raise Jesus to this pinnacle of glory and power?” In all honesty we must admit, “Not only have I not helped, but my sin-nature has opposed Him at every step. My self-righteousness and pride would rather place me on a throne in my heart, instead of the Lord Jesus.”

Favors Of Divine Grace

Because we have nothing of ourselves to offer Him, our Lord is under no obligation at all to favor us with any blessing, much less a place in glory with Him for the life to come. But this is where the contrast is shown between self-serving human loyalty and divine grace. Knowing that we could never begin to afford His favor, our Lord Himself provided the necessary payment for the grace He bestows. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Jesus’ friendship cannot be bought — it can only be received as a gift, by faith.

Talk about connections — through faith that God Himself has given, you now have tremendous influence with the One who leaves all other power and authority in the dust! Therefore, remember to honor Him with your life, boast of Him to others, and appeal to Him with every need and request. There is no good thing which He is His wisdom will withhold from you.

Political candidates, causes, and campaign issues come and go. Of course, a responsible Christian citizen will seek to do his civic duty and serve his neighbor in this area of life. But when it comes to influence-peddling, let the world go on currying the favor of its own people in power. God has already instituted automatic term limits for every political office. Even for a man who is a “dictator for life,” a definite end to power is clearly in view. Death, the great equalizer, brings all earthly power to ashes.

Our Savior, however, has no such limitations, for death could not hold God’s Son. His power and reign are unlimited, for He has ascended to a throne which will endure forever. United with Him by faith here in time, we are certain that through His cleansing blood we too shall ascend in glory to share in His reign for eternity.

Yes, Jesus is our Friend in high places!

–Pastor Bruce Naumann