The Exaltation of Jesus

“…far above all rule and authority and power and dominion…” (Ephesians 1:21)

Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:19-23

In speaking of the greatness of God’s power toward us in Christ, Paul gives us a breathtaking view of the authority of our risen Lord.

He tells us that when God raised Jesus to his right hand, he gave him a name and a place that was “far above [that is, far greater than] all authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is to be named, not only in this age, but in the age to come” (Ephesians 1:21).

The apostle Peter says a similar thing when he writes that Jesus “has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities and powers having been subjected to him” (1 Peter 3:22). In this verse too, the idea of power or authority is prominent.  Jesus’ exaltation was not simply a matter of his person being glorified, but of him being honoured with authority over all things in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).

Both Paul and Peter refer to several other “authorities” that Jesus has supremacy over. These are spoken of as “rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named…” (Ephesians 1:21). These terms likely refer to both heavenly and earthly powers of one sort and another – angels, demons, human authorities. Whether Paul is referring to a hierarchy of powers is not immediately clear; what is obvious, however, is the absolute supremacy of Christ over all other powers and sources of rule.  Seated at his Father’s right hand, he is “far above” them; his “name” is far greater than theirs.

Even while on earth with us, Jesus knew what this glory would be like. He spoke of it in his prayer to his Father shortly before his death. It was a glory that he had with his Father before the world existed (John 17:5), and one which he longed for his followers to see. “Father,” he prayed, “I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (17:24). 

The exaltation of Jesus often gets less attention that his incarnation and death. Consequently, our thoughts of him often remain somewhat time-locked, almost as though he were still in his humble state among us. But that is not the case. He has been lifted up and is higher in power and authority than any other being in the universe.

We must keep this heavenly vision of Jesus in our minds. For our present existence is one in which our lives are “hidden with him in God” (Colossians 3:3). As we shall see, Christ carried us with him when he ascended into heaven (Ephesians 2:6).

Only as we keep him in his gloried state in our thoughts can we experience the power of his resurrection in our daily lives (Philippians 3:10).

Closing Thoughts:

  • When you think of the Lord Jesus, do you think of him as glorified at the Father’s right hand?
  • Do you consciously remind yourself that your life is at present hidden with Christ in God?

– Andrew Young