Seated in heaven, Jesus is not anxious or uncertain. He is not scurrying feverishly around heaven’s throne room, making last-minute rescues. He lives. He sits on heaven’s throne, secure and utterly stable, in perfect heavenly equanimity and composure, interceding for his people with, and as, God almighty by his very life and breath.
He’s still on the throne.
In moments when rough waves rock the boat of our Christian lives, an otherwise near-platitude can be a welcomed reminder. Our God is sovereign. Whatever befalls his people has been lovingly sifted through his fingers. Our trials and troubles are no evidence of his abdication or defeat, but of his astounding patience and mysterious timing.
What it means that he’s still on the throne may remain vague and distant. Yet we might take some real solace in the general reminder of his reign.
However, the common saying may also signal something more particular, concrete, and specifically Christian. That is, the God-man, the eternal divine Son — who came to earth as man to live and die for us and rise — ascended to his Father in heaven and sat down, as mediatorial king on the throne of the universe, and he’s still on the throne. Jesus reigns, right now. More than a timeless attribution of universal divine sovereignty, we might hear a Christian ascription of the Messianic rule of Jesus — a rehearsing of Christ’s session, as Christian theology has called it, his sitting in power, as Lord, and human, at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3).
What Is Jesus Doing?
Along with his ascension and intercession, the “doctrine of Christ’s session” may go underappreciated, and where that is the case, we might find fresh joy, and solid ground for our feet, in rediscovering it. While many do well in confessing the glorious past-tense verbs of Christ (like came, lived, died, and rose), and even his future verbs (like will come again and will judge), they might find themselves in the strange predicament of professing Jesus as Lord while not really knowing what to say he’s doing at present.
The doctrine of Christ’s session teaches us where Jesus is, and what he is doing — right now. Right now, as you read these words, and all day today, as you go about the rest of the day. And as you have lived till now, and as you will live your whole earthly life going forward, unless Jesus returns first, his session is what he has been, and is, and will be doing. It is what Jesus has been doing, beginning with his ascension and then coronation in heaven as King of kings, and what he will continue doing until he comes again. He is sitting right now on heaven’s throne as Lord of all. But what is he doing while he sits?
While He Sits
The Westminster Larger Catechism serves us with this brief but masterful answer to Question 54 about “his sitting at the right hand of God”:
Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father, with all fulness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven and earth; and doth gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies; furnisheth his ministers and people with gifts and graces, and maketh intercession for them.
Following the catechism’s lead, let’s consider, in three parts, what Jesus is doing right now as he sits, through the lens of what his sitting makes that seat.
1. Heaven’s Seat of Honor
First and foremost, Jesus sits in the universe’s highest seat of honor. That is, “as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father, with all fulness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven and earth.” During his “state of humiliation” while on earth, leading up to his suffering and death, he looked forward to the reward of “highest favor” and “fullness of joy, glory, and power” that were to come.