“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:32-36).
No one saw Jesus the moment He rose to life again, since He was inside a sealed tomb, but more than 500 people – far more than the two or three witnesses that the Law of Moses required to establish the facts of a case (Deut. 19:15) – witnessed Him alive and well after the resurrection.
Peter stood at Pentecost among those who had witnessed Jesus alive after the resurrection and saw Him ascend into heaven. The apostles didn’t offer hearsay about the events. They testified as to what they had seen and heard. They’d seen His face closely enough to recognize Him. They’d heard Him speak plainly enough to understand Him. They’d touched Him enough to know He was real, and not an apparition or imagination.
For 3 ½ years, the apostles witnessed Jesus fulfill all God’s promises regarding Messiah by masterfully teaching God’s Word, deftly refuting heresies and graciously performing miracles, which culminated in many post-resurrection appearances. They had even watched Him ascend physically into heaven.
Based on the extraordinary events they had witnessed, Jesus’ followers concluded that God’s Word concerning His continuing position at the right hand of the Father was also true. Although no one saw Him sit at the Father’s right hand, the evidence was overwhelming.
David prophesied, “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’” (Psa. 110:1). The right hand is a position of power and authority. It speaks of the majestic rule of Christ over all of creation, especially the church. When Jesus came the first time, He’d set aside the eternal glory He’d shared with the Father. He came as a servant.
When Jesus returns, He will reveal His glorious power to all humanity: “Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Matt. 26:64). He will come to judge between those He redeems and those He condemns:
For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed – for our testimony to you was believed. To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:6-12).
In that day, I pray that you will rejoice in the glory of our risen Lord Jesus Christ.