Risen, Exalted, and Crowned as King
One grand proclamation by the risen Christ signaled a new day for His followers. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:18). Following His resurrection and a series of public appearances, Jesus summoned His disciples to a mountaintop to publicly stake His claim to universal dominion and instruct them and us regarding our future task. In one conclusive statement, He punctuated His astounding feat with some decisive truths.
The Heavenly Father Rewards Obedience.
In submitting Himself for crucifixion, Jesus chose to faithfully follow the Father’s purpose in sending Him to earth. That is a lesson worth our attention. But the consequence is more strikingly clear, as noted by Paul, “Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9).
The principle of divine exaltation is one that every believer should grasp. Among other things, the Bible is a book of contrasts, echoing the blessings and curses of God throughout biblical history. Scripture repeatedly places the tragedies of the arrogant and headstrong alongside the triumphs of the humble and obedient. The pattern is consistent. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matt 23:12). Again, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). The lesson remains clear for God’s servants today. God rewards our humility and obedience.
Jesus showcased this eternal truth by His paramount demonstration of obedience and sacrifice. The Divine Son who “emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond servant, born in the likeness of man” and “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on the cross” was consequently rewarded by the Father with the “name above all names” (Phil 7-9). The greatest submission earned the utmost promotion. Not that the PERSON of Christ was more deified by His resurrection, but His limitless POWER was extended throughout the universe. The risen Savior had been exalted, and He was announcing a new day in world history. He is now in complete control.
The Gospel Calls All People to Submit to the Exalted King.
The worldwide domain of the exalted Christ serves as the impetus for our message. The gospel summons all of humanity to recognize and bow to His rightful reign. The Psalmist foretold the global Kingdom of the Son of God. “Ask it of Me, and I will certainly give the nations as Your inheritance and the ends of the earth as Your possession” (Ps 2:8). Daniel dreamed that when the ascending Son of Man approached the Ancient of Days, “to Him was given dominion, Honor, and a kingdom, so that all the peoples, nations, and populations of all languages Might serve Him”(Dan 7:13-14). His authority and purview are indisputable.
Therefore, we have an unshrinking task in the Great Commission. Christ appoints all believers and churches to announce His Kingdom to His proper jurisdiction. Without apology, this is our mission to all nations and our witness to every person we meet. The risen King deserves to be their Master and Lord as well as ours.
The Sovereign Christ Directs and Empowers our Mission.
We are never alone in our obedience to Christ’s mission. It is truly a Great Co-Mission. The authoritative presence of the exalted King permeates His global territory and is at our disposal. God had promised to be with His servants before, such as with Moses (Ex 3:12), Joshua (Deut 31:23), and Jeremiah (Jer 1:8). These pledges were intermittent and paired to particular assignments. But now the risen Christ assures His followers that although we may not see Him, He will always be with us by His Spirit. What He sends us out to attempt we can, in fact, accomplish by His perpetual presence and power. It is not an impossible task to make disciples in every tribe, speaking every tongue under heaven. After all, we are empowered by the Spirit of the One to whom has “been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”
Sam Waltman, D.Min., Executive Director of Missions, San Felipe Baptist Association