He Sat Down1
We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
- from Hebrews 8:1-2
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty
- from The Apostles’ Creed
Jesus is seated at the right hand of his Father. With this statement, the Apostles’ Creed does what stand-up comedians call a “call-back” to an earlier punch line. We see God the Son and God the Father united.
What sort of relationship do they seem to have? In Hebrews 8, we see them seated next to each other, the Son as the high priest sitting next to the Majesty, his Father. This position is a position of intimacy, honor and authority. And a seated high priest would have been shocking to see (as we’ll discover).
The right-hand-seat is, first of all, a seat of intimacy. The Son is close to the Father, at the right hand, not across the room. This allows for whispers and high fives and the sharing of food.
But the right-hand-seat is also a seat of honor. Kings would choose people they wanted to dignify to sit in at their right hand. The person who sits there gets exalted above all others in the room being brought up to the level of the king.
And the right-hand-seat is also a seat of authority. The one who the Majesty trusts and honors is also the one who the King will entrust to do important work.
And that’s where this passage in Hebrews 8 starts to shock. The Son is the great high priest, serving in the sanctuary and making things right between us and God. But in the earthly temples where the high priests would normally work, there was no sitting to be done. The Holy of Holies didn’t have a place for the priest to sit, since the work of intercession was never finished. They would offer up sacrifice after sacrifice and prayer after prayer because the work was never finished.
But Jesus is the great high priest who can finally be seated. When we see the Son sitting next to his Father in the tabernacle set up by the Lord, we see a high priest who has finished his work. The work that could never be finished has been finished finally and completely in Jesus.
What does it mean for you that Jesus’ work if finally and completely finished?