Celebrate the Ascension in 2022!


Celebrate the Ascension in 2022!
Embrace Christ’s Rightful Claim and Enjoy It!

David Bryant


In PART ONE, David entertained a “What if”: What if Jesus had never ascended to the throne of heaven and, therefore, was not now the supreme ruler in the universe? Stepping back from that dreadful scenario, he began to unpack the joys of the biblical wonders and promises that have been secured for us because our Lord Jesus Christ indeed has “gone up on high” and is even now “filling the universe with himself” (Ephesians 4). Now, in PART TWO, he completes his hope-filled reflections on the Ascension.]

Is it any wonder Psalm 110 defines our greatest reality!

Why is it that the Old Testament passage most frequently quoted or referenced in the New Testament—in Jesus’ teachings, in Acts, in the Revelation, and in almost every epistle—is Psalms 110:1-4?

Of the thousands of verses in the Hebrew Bible, early Christians identified this text as the most helpful in interpreting what was happening before their very eyes as the gospel spread across the empire. They were convinced that the wonders God was performing all around them in Jesus’ name flowed out of and pointed toward the coronation of his ascension—just as fully and dramatically as predicted in Psalm 110, which reads in the NIV translation:

The LORD says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”

The LORD will extend your mighty scepter
from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

Surprisingly, Psalm 110 is also one of the briefest of all the Psalms, comprising only eleven verses. So why did this portion of Scripture achieve dominance among New Testament Christians? Could it have something to do with the proactive nature of the vision with which it opens—with its decree:

The LORD says to my lord:
Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
The LORD will extend your mighty scepter
from Zion, saying,
Rule in the midst of your enemies!” (emphasis added)

One thing that was immediately clear to first-century Jesus followers: This ancient hymn foretold the ascension and crowning of Jesus as Lord of all! 

Note how the active verbs—sit, make, extend, rule—relate to someone taking the authority of a throne. These verses foreshadow Jesus being raised on high to actively rule and prevail as our Royal Majesty, both for his own people (“Your troops will be willing on your day of battle, arrayed in holy majesty,” verse 3) as well as among the peoples of the earth (“The LORD will extend your mighty scepter . . . in the midst of your enemies,” verses 2). 

This one passage weaves together
the entire New Testament message.

To start with, in the mandate of Psalm 110, the Father ordains the reign of his Son to flourish unabated forever. As much as any other Scripture, this hymn fulfills—or better yet, it fills full—the significance of the royal title reserved for Jesus alone at heaven’s coronation: “the Christ,” the “Anointed One.”

Its poetry reinforces for the early Church how the Father is working to coalesce everything under his Messiah, reconstituting even his enemies into a “footstool” destined to complement the throne from which Messiah presides.

During his earthly career, the Master himself recited this Scripture when he confronted swarms of resistive religious leaders. He quoted its assertions to confound them because it required them to deal with the biblical basis of his claims to be Messiah and Lord over all—especially over them (see Matthew 22).

Following suit, most New Testament writers laced their works with quotes from or references to Psalm 110, prevalent especially in Acts, Ephesians, Colossians, Hebrews, and Revelation.

However, here’s what is most intriguing about this prime prophecy that was so foundational to how first-century churches thought about Jesus: It mentions nothing about his incarnation, crucifixion, or resurrection—as utterly essential as all three are to our salvation. Did you notice that?

Instead, it focuses exclusively on the unparalleled transaction of the enthronement of Jesus in heaven—the one paramount event that sovereignly sealed for God’s people the full ramifications of his incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. 

His coronation as the Christ unleashed the everlasting benefits of all other aspects of Christ’s redemptive work into both Church and cosmos. To say it again:

Without the ascension of Jesus
everything else he did for our salvation
would be rendered null and void!

Perhaps that’s why in Acts 2, as Peter preaches the first recorded sermon of the Christian movement, he drives his message steadily toward the Ascension, making it the core of his climactic appeal (to which 3000 responded in saving faith!) by quoting in his conclusion from—yes, you guessed it—Psalm 110:

Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 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 [Christ].

Since that hour, the saints in heaven and on earth continue to rejoice in the declaration of Psalm 110 about God’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ—a manifesto never to be revised or rescinded or replaced.

Right now, let’s CELEBRATE
Christ’s rightful place as supreme in everything!

We can do this simply by expanding on the insights of Psalm 110 and reflecting on their implications as spelled out by a multitude of New Testament teachings. 

Picture yourself there with the disciples (possibly one hundred twenty of them) gathered around the risen Christ on Olive Mountain, on that matchless day when, as Luke 24 reports: “He lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them. He was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him.” 

Imagine yourself standing there, looking up as he departs, making the following declaration to your wonderful Savior as he ascends to be crowned King of Glory forever. 

Maybe even recite this out loud to get the full impact of what is being said.

Go up on high, dearly loved Son.
Sit beside your Father on the throne of heaven.

You are the one person in the entire cosmos with whom he is
unconditionally pleased.

He is wholly satisfied with all you have accomplished.

What you have achieved to fulfill his eternal plan—
by your incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection—
is thoroughly complete and fully sufficient
for the salvation of all who belong to you.

The perfection of your mission of redemption
ensures the Consummation for all creation.

Go up on high, dearly loved Son.
Sit beside your Father on the throne of heaven.

Put on the royal diadem.

Now you are anointed and crowned
as Prince of Peace and Ruler of all.

To you alone belongs the place of preeminence,
preserved for you from the foundation of the world.

You are supreme in all things!

You are the end and goal of all things.

One day soon, every knee will bow to you
and every tongue will confess that you are Lord and Christ,
which will serve to focus all eyes on the Father’s glory!

Go up on high, dearly loved Son.
Sit beside your Father on the throne of heaven.

Reign throughout all creation and in every nation.
Reign on behalf of all whom you have redeemed.

Reign until you defeat every enemy,
the last enemy being death itself.

Pour out the Spirit of power and revelation
as the primary extension of your ascension.

Bring your saving victories into every place
and among every tongue and peoples.
Out of the domains of darkness
transfer a host of sinners into your kingdom,
called and assembled by your gospel
from every corner of the globe.
Reconcile them by your cleansing blood
and fill them with your risen, ascended life.

Fold them into your anointed, abounding dominion
to thrive in union with you forever.

Or you might choose to respond more personally by embracing Jesus the way 1 Peter 3:15 calls us to do in the Amplified Bible:

“But in your hearts set Christ apart
[as holy—acknowledging Him,
giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord of all.”

About the Author

Over the past 45 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com. Enjoy his regular CHRIST TODAY podcast.


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