New City Catechism – Week 49

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Q49: Where is Christ now?

A49: Christ rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling his kingdom and interceding for us, until he returns to judge and renew the whole world.

Christ rose from the dead in a material body. This is the uniform testimony of the gospels and New Testament letters. Paul summarizes this in 1 Corinthians 15, “that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 Cor. 15:4).

By appearances, Paul refers to the fact that Jesus showed himself bodily to the disciples. They touched him, heard his voice and even ate with him (John 20:27). They also saw him taken up into heaven and heard the angels say that he would return again as he had gone from them.

Where is Christ now? Psalm 110 foretold that Messiah would sit at God’s right hand until his enemies were made a footstool. This prophecy is referenced many times in the New Testament both by Jesus and the New Testament authors. The writer of Hebrews, for instance, quotes Ps 110 five times, e.g., “…After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Heb. 1:3b), cf. also Hebrews 12:2.

The right hand represents power. Jesus is reigning in heaven with His Father. He both rules and sustains creation in sovereign power (Matthew 28:18, Hebrews 1:3, 1 Peter 3:22). Though Christ rules sovereignly, he does not rule at this time unopposed.1 Men, devils, kingdoms and rulers may set themselves against him, but in the end all will bow before Him (Phil 2:10, 1 Cor 15:24-25).

In addition to His rule, which is great comfort to His children, He also intercedes on their behalf as their faithful high priest (Hebrews 7:25, 9:24, Romans 8:24). His position next to His Father secures and guarantees our help and redemption.

-Pastor Jay

1A helpful distinction lies in the terms “sovereign” vs. “preceptive” will. God rules sovereignly such that nothing comes to pass that he has not ordained. But God commands men according to his preceptive will, which they in fact resist and disobey. Cf., RC Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith p. 67, Tyndale.

-Pastor Jay

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