“According to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:19b-23).
These are triumphant words to all believers. We know that our King is in heaven, sitting at the right hand of God. He is “far above all principality and power and might and dominion.” What a great and powerful King we have!
But doesn’t that sound far away and distant, to be seated “in heavenly places”?
There are times when Jesus does seem very distant. We can’t see Him or touch Him. Heaven itself may seem very far off. It is something we have never experienced. We don’t even know where it is.
Jesus may seem especially distant during times of trouble and sorrow. Where is He when we really need Him? We pray and yet may feel very much alone.
At times, we even act as though He IS far away. We go against His will and act as though He can’t see us. But we should take the news of Jesus’ ascension to heart. He is not reigning on a distant throne. He is actually very near.
Our King With Us
At Christmas we rejoice to hear that Jesus has come to earth as our Immanuel–God with us. He is still our Immanuel now that He has ascended to reign in heaven. He is still God with us.
Look again at the last part of our passage from Ephesians. God describes the church as Christ’s “body.” Can Christ be any closer to us than to be our Head and we His body? We are inseparably connected to Him. We receive all our life and vitality and direction from Jesus, our Head.
Notice also that Jesus is described as the One “who fills all in all.” Jesus is everywhere and in all things. Therefore He cannot be far from us.
We must not think of Jesus as being gone or far away from us. Just the opposite is the case. While He was on earth He was far away from us; now He is very near. If Jesus had remained on the earth in visible form, all believers on earth could not be with Him. Now that He has ascended, He is with each of us at all times wherever we are.
He is not only with us but dwells within our hearts together with the Holy Spirit. Seated at the right hand of God, Jesus not only rules in our hearts and the hearts of all believers, but He rules all things in heaven and earth. “He put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.”
This is a great comfort to us in this day of war and turmoil in the world. Jesus rules all things. Nothing happens in this world without His knowledge and consent. And He rules all things for the benefit of His Church. He promises to make everything work for the good of His Church, His believers.
So we should rejoice in Christ’s ascension. Not only is He very near to each of us, but He is nearer than before. We can also rest at ease, knowing that He rules all things for our benefit.
May we place all our trust and confidence in Him as we look forward to the day when we too will ascend to be with Him in heaven.
–Pastor David Reim