Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
Question 54 of the Larger Catechism, asks, “How is Christ exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God?” It gives the answer, “Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favour 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 ministers and people with gifts and graces, and maketh intercession for them.” The last time we looked at this question we saw that for Jesus to be seated at the right hand of God means that He has absolute power over all creation. Today we consider how Jesus proved that He forever has taken this seat of power.
The resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ were eye-witnessed events. For forty days Jesus appeared to many people on ten different occasions, proving that He had in fact risen from the dead and therefore that He fulfilled the curse of the covenant for His elect, satisfying the wrath of God and conquering sin and death. Likewise many people saw Jesus bodily rise into heaven until He was taken out of their sight by a cloud, proving that His victory was complete and that His authority extends to all physical and spiritual laws. But how do we know Jesus really has taken that seat of power we talked about last time? Without eyewitnesses how do we know Christ is seated at the right hand of God?
First of all we know because the Scripture repeatedly declares it (Psa. 110:1; Matt. 26:64; Acts 2:33; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3; etc.)! Since the Bible is the Word of God and is therefore inerrant and infallible anything the Bible says even once is enough to establish the truth of that doctrine, provided we correctly interpret its meaning. Yet throughout Scripture, God often and regularly condescended to give confirming evidence to His people of the truth of His Word, especially when He was doing something of great significance for them. Scripture calls these confirming acts of God “signs.” So the rainbow, circumcision, the Passover, Aaron’s rod, the Sabbath, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and many other particular persons, places, and things are given as signs so that God’s people would be better disposed to believe what God in His Word told them to believe. However, the most memorable and astonishing signs of the Bible are those supernatural events that unmistakably show forth the power of God.
Jesus Christ did these kinds of signs repeatedly throughout His life, proving that He was the Son of God. Thus, Peter preached, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22). Although the Word of God plainly declared that Jesus was the Messiah, God did not give us only His Word in order for us to believe in Him. God Himself attested to and therefore proved Jesus to be Israel’s Messiah by the many physical miracles Jesus did. In fact when the Jews charged Jesus with blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God, our Lord answered their charge by this doctrine of proof by way of sensory manifested signs: “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me… If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John. 10:25b, 37-38).
So how does this doctrine of signs prove that Jesus took His seat at the right hand of God once He ascended into heaven? The Scripture at the head of this article gives the answer: by the miraculous signs Jesus continued to perform through His apostles. In the verse Peter is referring to the miraculous ability of people to suddenly speak in real human languages they had never before known, a sign which God gave repeatedly to His church through the ministry of the apostles. Consequently, Scripture declares that the “great salvation” of Jesus Christ “was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Heb. 2:3-4). Throughout Acts and the Epistles, God has for all time sealed to His church an abundance of eye-witnessed proof that Jesus sat down at the right hand of power after He ascended into heaven. This proof consists of the supernatural works and gifts of the apostolic ministry in many miraculous signs, wonders, and mighty deeds.