In closing the “Mercy’s Throne” project it was important to us that we would not only celebrate the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave, but that we’d also rejoice in his ascension. At the cross, Christ was the perfect sacrifice for our sin. This alone is cause for wonder and endless praise, but he is so much more than just a sacrifice.
In rising from the dead, Jesus fulfills what he said in Matthew 12:39-41, Matthew 16:21, and Matthew 20:17-19:
17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 20:17-19)
Jesus not only knew that the cross was coming, it was the very reason why he came. He came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Christ’s resurrection proves that he accomplished what he had come to do (Acts 17:30-31, Romans 1:4, Acts 17:3, Ephesians 1:20-23). Jesus Christ’s resurrection is our great hope. Without it, we would still be in our sin (1 Corinthians 15:17). Praise God for the risen Christ!
As powerful as the resurrection is by itself, Jesus’ ascension gives us even more reasons to rejoice.
In Acts 1:6-11, we see the disciples last conversation with Jesus. They are still wondering when Jesus will overthrow Rome and restore Israel. Jesus quickly moves the conversation to what they need to hear.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1:8-9)
In a moment, Jesus is gone, but he has gone to do some very important things for our good and His glory.
AN ASCENDED JESUS SENDS THE HOLY SPIRIT
In John 16:7 Jesus says that "it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
This is good news! The Holy Spirit empowers believers to resist the flesh (Galatians 5:16). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin (John 16:8). The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit spirit testifies about and glorifies Jesus (John 15:26, John 16:13-14).
The eyes of the world are opened to the gospel by God through the Holy Spirit.
AN ASCENDED JESUS IS INTERCEDING FOR US
We find the clearest and most direct picture of this in Hebrews 7. The writer of Hebrews shows us why Jesus is a better high priest than the priests in the old covenant.
23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. (Hebrews 7:23-27)
If your hope is in Jesus, you can trust that he is always faithful and praying for your good and the growth of your faith. (Romans 8:31)
This song was written not only to reflect the work Christ accomplished in his resurrection and ascension, but it also goes to highlight our needed response. In order for the work of the cross to be applied to us we must believe Jesus lives. We must believe he is our Lord, our God and our Savior. We must believe for salvation (Acts 16:31). We believe and receive hope, joy, and peace (Romans 15:13). Our belief pleases God (Hebrews 11:6) and makes us children of God (John 1:1). The depth of the riches that God gives us when we believe are infinite because when we believe, we get God himself (Hebrews 8:10).
Against this backdrop, let’s look at the lyrical content of “Believe He Lives” and break it down as we have with our other songs.
Like a light in the darkness breaking through to day - (John 8:12, Ephesians 5:8, 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Corinthians 4:6)
There was hope and a promise that God would make a way - (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 53:5-9)
And so we pray you say you hear us as we cry out to You. - (Proverbs 15:29, 1 John 5:14, John 16:24)
The world watching with a wonder
"How can Jesus save
with his body torn asunder lying in the grave?” - (Acts 5:34-40)
He is risen and ascended and we believe it's true - (Romans 8:34)
And now that we have seen the plan of God
In Christ our risen King - (Ephesians 1:3-14)
We believe salvation comes by faith - (Ephesians 2:8)
and this truth we'll ever sing
Jesus Christ is raised to life
He has undone the fall for all who, by His grace,
believe He lives - (1 John 2:2, Romans 3:25-26)
Before the light, before the darkness
Christ was on His throne - (John :1-5)
And at the cross he has accomplished
Grace through faith alone - (Ephesians 2:8)
We believe and see the Savior redeeming everything - (Colossians 1:20)
And so we're carrying the Gospel
Your spirit lives in us - (Acts 1:8-9)
and at the right hand of the Father - (Acts 7:55, Romans 8:34, Ephesians 1:20)
we have a high priest we can trust - (Hebrews 7:23-27)
Now forever every knee will bow and praise the lamb - (Philippians 2:10)
All Glory, Praise, and Honor to the Risen Lamb! - (Revelation 4:11, Revelation 5:13)
He is the Way, the Truth , the Life Forever! - (John 14:6)
We hope you enjoyed the “Mercy’s Throne” album and this series of blog posts. Our prayer in all of this is was that individuals and families would be led towards praise and reflection in this Easter season. Because Jesus has been raised, we too will be raised to praise him forever (2 Corinthians 4:14). May you be encouraged by these words of king Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, before he called to Lazarus from the dead:
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25)