Question 28 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “In what does Christ’s exaltation consist?“
The answer given is, “Christ’s exaltation consists in his rising again from the dead on the third day; in ascending into heaven; in sitting at the right hand of God the Father; and in coming to judge the world at the last day.“
The previous question asked about Christ’s humiliation and in this question, we move in the opposite direction. The basic meaning of exaltation is to be raised up from a lower position to a higher one. Philippians 2:8-9 tells us that Jesus’ exaltation was a result of his obedience in going to the cross.
I recently watched the movie “Risen” again and was struck by one of the disciples’ reaction to the resurrection. While being interrogated by the tribune, the disciple made the statement, “this changes everything.” And so it does.
If Jesus did not ascend, thus proving that he was who he claimed to be (See Romans 1:4), then we have no firm basis for hope. We have nothing of substance to offer.
The catechism also reminds us that Jesus sits at the right hand of the father, meaning that He has taken up a position of Power. It further tells us that Jesus will return one day to finally set things right.
Our hope lies not only in the possibility of being with Jesus when we die, but that at some point, He will return to fix the mess we’ve made of this world.