In our message series on Jesus, the Messiah, we looked at His birth, His miracles, His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection. But the story of Jesus the Messiah does not end there. Today, we’re going to talk about the Messiah’s Exaltation. Of all the aspects of the Messiah that we are talking about in this series, this one is probably the least known. However, it is one of the most important, as it speaks of what Jesus the Messiah is doing in the present.
So, what are we talking about regarding the Messiah’s Exaltation. Let’s begin by looking at what happened after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus spent 40 days teaching His disciples after He rose from the dead. He was seen not just by the twelve apostles, but by many others, even 500 on one occasion. Let’s take a look at Jesus’ final instruction to His disciples in …
Acts 1:8-9 (NIV2011) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Earlier in Acts 1, Jesus had commanded His disciples to wait to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Spirit baptism, Jesus explains in verse 8, would give them the power to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. After this final instruction, Jesus ascended up into heaven and has not been seen physically on the earth since the ascension.
Let’s look at an Old Testament prophecy of David concerning the ascension in Psalm 24. Interestingly, Psalm 22 is about the suffering and death of the Messiah. The well-known Psalm 23 is about the Messiah as our shepherd. Psalm 24 is about the conquering Messiah returning in victory to heaven.
Psalm 24:7-8 (NIV2011) Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Jesus, the Messiah is the King of glory. He died in weakness but was raised in power. Jesus, your King is strong and mighty. In His death and resurrection, He was mighty in battle with the forces of darkness and overcame them.
Colossians 2:15 (NIV2011) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Through His death on the cross and resurrection, Jesus defeated Satan and his evil principalities, powers and demons. They are a defeated foe, however the battle rages on. Yet the final outcome of the war has been settled once and for all. So, Jesus returned to heaven as the victor after fight to the death with Satan. Satan thought that he had won when Jesus died on the cross. But, three days later, Satan’s doom was sealed, when Jesus rose from the grave, never to die again. Jesus the victor is whom we serve today. So, let’s learn more about the significance of Jesus’ exaltation for us in our lives today.
Jesus’ exaltation brought gifts to the believers
Jesus’ exaltation has brought all kinds of benefits for believers. We’re just going to speak of some of them this morning. The greatest gift that was released at Jesus’ exaltation was …
Jesus offers Spirit baptism
Acts 2:33 (NIV2011) Exalted to the right hand of God, he [Jesus] has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, has gone through the story of Jesus. He spoke of his ministry of miracles, His death and His resurrection. But that’s not the end of the story. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He was exalted to the right hand of God. As we’ll see, to be seated at the right hand of God is to have all power in the universe.
At God’s right hand, Jesus received the gift of the Holy Spirit and poured out the Holy Spirit on the 120 believers waiting for Spirit baptism in the upper room. They were all baptized in the Spirit, speaking in other tongues. That is what the crowd that Peter was preaching to was seeing and hearing. Peter goes on to preach that the 3000+ people listening could have the same gifts in their own lives, by repenting, believing in Jesus, being water baptized and receiving Spirit baptism. The gift of Spirit baptism that Jesus began to pour out on the day of Pentecost is still available for every believer who asks in faith. Not only did Jesus offer Spirit baptism …
Jesus gives gifts to the church
Ephesians 4:8 (NIV2011) This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
Speaking of Jesus’ exaltation, this verse quotes another Old Testament prophecy in Psalm 68:18. In this psalm, David is prophesying of the Messiah winning the victory, taking captives and giving gifts to his people. Who are His people? Those who believe in Him, His church. What are the gifts that the exalted Messiah gives to the church?
Ephesians 4:11 (NIV2011) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
The Holy Spirit gifts people to lead his church. The Spirit also gives spiritual gifts to every person in the church, so that they can fulfill God’s purpose for their lives as well. The gifts that the exalted Jesus gives come through the Holy Spirit.
When a President elect comes into office, he has all kinds of plans to accomplish when he comes into power. In the same way, Jesus, the Messiah, came into power at His exaltation. The very first thing that He did, the most important thing was to pour out the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Why was that so important? Because believers need the power of the Spirit in order to be effective witnesses for Jesus, as we read in Acts 1:8. Not only do we need to be baptized in the Spirit, we also need to learn to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. These are an important part of our weapons in waging spiritual warfare, which we’re going to talk about in the next point.
Jesus died, was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, so that you could live life in the power of the Spirit. I’d encourage each person here this morning to continue to seek everything the Spirit has for you this year. And Spirit baptism and spiritual gifts are available for each one of you. Next, we learn that when Jesus was exalted …
Jesus’ name is above every name
Philippians 2:9 (NIV2011) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
The exaltation of Jesus is spoken of throughout the New Testament. Here, Scripture states that God exalted Him to the highest place. There is no one or thing higher than Jesus the Messiah. The name Jesus is a name above every other name. In the Bible, the name of a person represents everything about them. Oftentimes, you will hear people speaking of Jesus as Christ. Christ is a title, which means Messiah, the anointed one. His name is Jesus. The is great power in the name of Jesus, the exalted one. As the exalted one …
Jesus reigns until all enemies are defeated
Acts 2:34-36 (NIV2011) For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’ “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
In Peter’s message on Pentecost, he quotes from another prophecy of David in Psalm 110:1. This verse speaks of the Messiah reigning until all His enemies have been conquered and defeated. Peter concludes that the exalted Jesus is both Lord and Messiah. Jesus is Messiah, because he is the one prophesied in the Old Testament as the coming Savior and King. Jesus is Lord because He is above all authority and power. On the cross, Jesus defeated all His enemies. Yet, those enemies are not completely subdued, they are still fighting, they are not yet a footstool under Jesus’ feet. But one day, they will be. In that day …
Everyone will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord
Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV2011) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
When Jesus returns, every person will bow at His name and acknowledge that He is Lord. When Jesus returns, everyone both dead and alive will know the reality of His power and who He really is. Those who mocked and laughed on Him in life will realize how wrong they were. Yet, it will be too late to change their eternal destiny. Those who did not acknowledge Jesus as Lord in this life will spend eternity in hell. Those who believed on and followed Jesus in life will continue to acknowledge Him as Lord when He returns. They will spend eternity with Him in heaven.
So, Jesus rules and reigns as Lord and Messiah today from heaven. Yet the spiritual battle against evil and Satan rages across this planet. The final outcome has been decided, but the war is not yet over. And you and I are engaged in this spiritual warfare whether we realize it or not. The battleground is really the hearts of people.
As believers we are part of the Lord Jesus’ army. Our task is to recruit more soldiers into His army. We do this through our witness as we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives and Lord of all. Those who believe that Jesus is Lord are saved from Satan’s clutches and become part of Jesus’ church. The primary purpose of your life as a believer is to be a witness for Jesus and rescue those who have not yet acknowledged Jesus as Lord. The exaltation of Jesus is not temporary …
Jesus is exalted forever
Ephesians 1:19-20 (NIV2011) and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
It was the mighty power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. That power not only raised Jesus from the dead on this earth, but exalted Him to the right hand of God in the heavenlies. That same power operates in the life of every believer with the faith to receive it. Let’s read some more about how Jesus operates as the exalted Messiah in heaven. Not only does Jesus reign in the present age …
Jesus reigns in the age to come
Ephesians 1:21 (NIV2011) far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
The present age continues until Jesus returns again, which we’re going to talk about next week. The reign of Jesus is over everything and everyone that has any power, not just in the present age, but in the age to come. The reign of Jesus in the kingdom of God continues forever and ever. There is no end to His kingdom or His reign. Yet, in this present age …
Jesus reigns as head of the church
Ephesians 1:22-23 (NIV2011) 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.
Notice here that God appointed the exalted Jesus as head over everything for the church. Ephesians 5:25 tells us that Jesus gave His life up on the cross for the church He loved. Jesus is now head over the church that He created by His death and resurrection. The church is now the body of Christ, with Jesus being the head of the body.
The common opinion that the church is optional for a believer is completely wrong. Every true believer will be active in a local church. Those who call themselves believers and are not part of local church show that they are not truly believers. Jesus was exalted to guide and direct the expansion of the kingdom of God through the church in the present age. In the age to come, Jesus said that …
Victorious believers will reign with Him
Revelation 3:21 (NIV2011) To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Other translations refer to those who overcome. Jesus here says that He overcame, He was victorious in His death and resurrection. He then was exalted to sit down with the Father on his throne. Believers who are overcomers, who are victorious in this life will have the awesome privilege of sitting with Jesus on His throne. That is, of ruling and reigning with Him in the age to come.
So, how can you be an overcomer, how can you be victorious in this life? Simply by continuing to believe, continuing to following the Lord Jesus’ direction in your life, continuing to carry out His purpose in the church. Those who fall away from their faith in Jesus, who fall away from fellowship in the church, will not be overcomers.
Lest there be any misunderstanding, an overcomer is not a special class of believer. Every true believer will be an overcomer and be victorious in life. Those who are not overcomers are not truly believers and will not reign with Christ or be in heaven at all. Overcoming believers will reign in the age to come with the exalted Lord Jesus.
What’s incredible is that the authority and power of the exalted Jesus Christ is available for you and I to be Jesus’ witnesses.
Matthew 28:18-19 (NIV2011) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
The authority of Jesus both commands and empowers every believer to do their part in the spiritual battle for the souls of men. Let’s understand and believe in Jesus’ authority. Let’s learn to use the power of Jesus’ name to set people free from sin and Satan. Let’s operate in the power of the Holy Spirit to be effective witnesses to everyone we know. And one day, those who follow the Lord Jesus in this age will reign with Him in the age to come.