Therefore God also highly exalted him . . . (Philippians 2:9)
Today is Ascension Day. In most churches a lot more was made of Mother’s Day this week than of the fact that Christ the Lord has resumed his rightful place at the Father’s right hand, there to reign forever (see Psalm 110:1).
The famous Christ-hymn in Philippians 2 traces the movements of Christ from eternity, through time, and back into eternity, a journey shaped like a capital U. Christ the Word, who was with God in the beginning and who was God (John 1:1), did not count equality with God a thing to be clung to, but gave up the glory and privileges of his position. He humbled himself, becoming a man, then lowered himself still further by assuming the form of a servant. Finally he reached the bottom, as his obedience led him to the cross.
But at this point the U of Christ’s descent and self-humbling turns sharply upward: “Therefore God also highly exalted him.” Christ’s resurrection and ascension is God’s reversal of the shame and humiliation of the cross. It is the Father’s “Yes!” to the Son’s “It is finished!” When 40 days after he rose from the dead Jesus rose from the earth into heaven before the eyes of his stupefied disciples, it was God’s way of showing that Jesus isn’t just alive; he is Lord! And that’s worth celebrating.
We praise you, risen and reigning Christ the Lord!