In the J.R.R. Tolkein’s adventure journey story, The Lord of the Rings, Sam returns home from his exploits. He walks up the hill to Baywater, sees yellow light in his cottage window, fire in the hearth, and enters his door to the aroma of supper. There his wife hugs him, as he sits in his own chair and draws his child to his lap.
“Well, I’m back,“ he soothes. And so ends the tale.
In the Bible Jesus’ own journey from heaven to earth, from Bethlehem to Egypt to Nazareth to a cross in Jerusalem, is extolled. He died, he rose, and he ascended to sit “at the right hand of the Father.” So, too ends Jesus’ sojourn up to this point.
Sitting, if you contemplate it, can have various meanings. 1. It implies rest. Christ upon the cross exclaimed, “It is finished.” His redemptive work is completed.
2. Sitting embraces authority. A lifeguard sits on the beach, a king on his throne. A Congress is seated. A leader is called the “chair.” So, too Christ sits at the center of all authority.
3. Sitting conjures the notion of stability. Christ is a permanent persona. No one shall unseat Him.
4. Sitting evokes ownership. It is home. As the Vatican is the seat of a pope, and an ancestral home is the seat of a great family name, the “right hand of God the Father Almighty” is Jesus’ rightfully inherited seat.
5. Finally, sitting not just anywhere, but at God’s right hand, means the power to judge and to forgive. In Jesus’s day a judge sat with a secretary on his right and his left. When he heard a case and chose to punish the citizen, he turned to his left and meted out justice. When he was merciful, he spoke to the secretary on his right hand.
Our Jesus for us sits on God’s forgiving side.
So, to our everlasting comfort, our Jesus is home, having completed for us our redemption. His authority is intact. His seat is secure and our mercy assured. —Stephen