Bible Catechism: The Doctrine of Jesus

Question What is Jesus doing right now?

Answer Jesus is now seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven. He is ministering on behalf of His people, and preparing for His return to earth to reign and rule one day.

Scripture Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us!

Explanation| In our previous question and answer, I mentioned that Jesus isn’t physically on earth right now. Rather, He’s presently in heaven. My purpose in referring to these truths was to help us in thinking about being confident that Jesus is who He said He is even though He’s not here with us, physically. Now, I want to look at these truths more directly in answering our question above. What is Jesus doing right now?

Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven. The Father sent the Son to earth from heaven, where He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Son then lived, died, rose again, and returned to heaven, where the Father “seated Him at His right hand” (Ephesians 1:20). This is where Jesus is right now—in heaven at the Father’s right hand. Last time, we looked at why it matters that He’s seated and where He’s seated. Now, let’s look a bit more at His position. Put simply, where Jesus is right now is in a position of authority. He has been seated “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21). Notice the word, above. It’s one thing to be above all things while on top of a mountain (altitude). It’s another thing to be above all things while serving as the president of a nation (authority). The present position of Jesus is one of authority, like the president of a nation. But, unlike every other president, Jesus’ authority extends beyond a nation. His authority is over all other authorities, now and in the future. Jesus is over “all things,” and all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him (Ephesians 1:22). To have authority means to have the right to make decisions and be in control. Jesus has such authority over all things. And, with His authority He is holding all things togetherand working to reconcile all things to Himself.1 Further, with His seated position of authority, God “put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). Meaning, Jesus is especially related to the church. The church is His body, and He is its head. As the church’s head, Jesus has authority over the church. But, because of His special relationship to the church, Jesus’ authority over the church enables Him to care for it (see, for example, Revelation 1-3). 

He is ministering on behalf of His people. Jesus is in heaven right now. But, is He doing anything? He’s in a position of authority. But, is He doing anything with that authority? The answer to both questions is, yes. Jesus completed the work the Father sent Him to do on earth. But that doesn’t mean He’s not doing anything now, nor that He doesn’t have anything more to do in the future. So, what’s He doing, now? First, He is giving the Holy Spirit. When Jesus returned to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit, not only to be with believers but also to be in believers.2 Every person who hears the gospel, turns from their sin, and trusts in Christ receives the Holy Spirit.3 And, it is by the Holy Spirit that Jesus continues to minister to and through believers. It is also by the Holy Spirit that Jesus is with believers all the time.4 Second, He is building His church.5 His church is people who have come to know Him and follow Him as He is—the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus works through His people to testify of Him to others.6 He also gives certain men to His church to help it to become mature.7 Further, He regularly ministers to His church by sanctifying it and sustaining it.8 Meaning, Jesus is working to make His church more and more like Him—holy and blameless. Third, He is interceding for believers. Look at our verse above. Notice the question at the beginning—“Who is to condemn?” The answer isn’t stated directly, but it’s obvious once we finish the verse. That is, no one can actually condemnme for being guilty before God. Why? Because Jesus Christ died and rose so that I could be forgiven by God. But, notice even further. He is also “at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). To intercede means to plead on someone else’s behalf. Jesus’ past work (died, rose) and ongoing present ministry (interceding) gives me confidence that my standing before God is guaranteed no matter what. Because of Jesus, no one can condemn me before God if I am a believer in Him.

He is preparing for His return to earth one day. Jesus is doing many things from His position of authority in heaven. But, is there anything else? Actually, yes, there is. Before Jesus died on the cross, He told His disciples that He would be going to the Father.9 And, it’s true—Jesus did go to the Father, which is where He is right now.10 But, He also told His disciples two other important truths. First, because He was going, He would also prepare a place for them.11 While Jesus is currently in heaven, He is preparing a place for all believers. And, that place is His “Father’s house.” What this means is that, if we are believers in Jesus, our real house is not here. Where we belong is not here. It’s actually with the Father and His Son. And Jesus left, in part, so that He could get His Father’s place ready for us. Second, because He was going, He would also return for them and take them to be with Him.12 If Jesus is preparing a place for His disciples—and, indeed, for every believer in Him—and that place is where He and His Father are, then what does this mean? It means that, while Jesus is presently gone, He won’t be gone forever. He’s coming back. And He’s coming back, in part, to take believers to Himself. Where Jesus is, is where all believers will be. And there we will be with Him forever. So, Jesus is coming back to earth one day. And when He does, He will reign and rule according to God’s plan, which is what we’ll look at in our next question and answer.

This is what the Bible teaches about Jesus.

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1 Colossians 116 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

2 John 1417 Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

3 Acts 233 “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing… 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

4 Hebrews 13Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

5 Matthew 1618 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

6 John 1720 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

7 Ephesians 4But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

8 Ephesians 525 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. (See also, 1 Corinthians 1:8)

9 John 1412 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

10 Acts 3:20 “That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”

11 John 14:“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”

12 John 14:And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.