“I believe…Jesus Christ…ascended into heaven,
and stitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”
These words, from the Apostles’ Creed, are spoken in many United Methodist worship services almost every Sunday. Regrettably, few people who speak them understand why the Ascension is one of the key doctrines of the Christian faith.
I hope many pastors and teachers will seek to remedy that this Sunday — Ascension Sunday.
Not long ago, I stumbled across a passionate presentation on the Ascension by well-known Southern Baptist author and speaker, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
[T]he writer of the book of Hebrews says to us that [Jesus] is our mediator — but he is not only our mediator, he is our great high priest. He understands us….
It’s common to hear evangelicals say, “We don’t need a priest…because Christ did it all. It’s all done. Nothing needs to be mediated for us now….”
And that’s so right, it’s horribly wrong. We need no earthly priest — but we are desperately dependent upon the great high priest who intercedes before the throne of God, intercedes for the saints. We are desperately, in every single moment of our lives, absolutely dependent upon the active intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ for His own….
We need a priest — oh, how we need a priest. And what a priest we have!…
Every single breath we take, we take because Jesus Christ is our mediator and great high priest. Everything we do in the name of Christ is undergirded, is sustained, is blessed and promised by God because of the intercession of Jesus Christ….
The fact that He ascended to heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty is the only reason we can…say — as we sing in the words of Charles Wesley:
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.
What kind of boldness could we possibly have in approaching the throne of God if Christ Himself were not sitting at the Father’s right hand?
Use the audio player below to listen to Dr. Mohler’s remarks (six minutes), excerpted from a series on the Apostles’ Creed presented last year at Southern Seminary.
Though the cloud from sight received him
when the forty days were o’er
shall our hearts forget his promise,
‘I am with you evermore’?
— William Chatterton Dix