The Apostles' Creed Part 6: Judge Jesus
"He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead." —The Apostles' Creed
Have you ever watched an Olympic awards ceremony? To the crowd's ear-shattering applause, the Champion of champions triumphantly ascends the steps to the top platform, and then bends slightly as the ribbon holding the gold metal is placed around his or her neck. It's an emotional and powerful moment.
The disciples witnessed a similar moment at the end of Jesus' time on this planet. Their Leader and Lord had come back from the dead, won the battle against sin and evil, and was suddenly ascending victoriously into heaven to sit at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).
Now, we're not saying he was given a nice comfy chair somewhere beyond the clouds. So what's really being said? Well, in ancient times, the king's most trusted and closest adviser always sat in a chair at the right side of the king's throne. By telling us that Jesus is at the right hand of God, the Apostles' Creed is telling us that God's Son is given great trust, honor, responsibility and power. Way better than receiving a gold metal! Scripture helps us understand what all this means:
"God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. … The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence" (Ephesians 1:20-23, The Message).
Jesus rules. No one has any power over him. What he says goes. Along with that, he is totally and completely in charge of the church. If people claim to be followers of Christ, then they're to live like Jesus is in charge. Period.
All this sounds good, doesn't it? But, unfortunately, so many people live and act like Jesus doesn't even exist—let alone like he's in charge. Even when it comes to church, people can seem so out of touch with what God wants. There are so many hypocrites. So many unwilling to show grace and forgiveness. So many who are unlike their leader.
This is where the second part comes in: "from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead."
It's easy to get turned off here. We associate judgment with closed-minded, mean people. Think of judgment and what comes to mind? Often it's a nasty preacher pointing an angry finger and shouting, "You're a loser, you're guilty, and you're going to burn!"
Let's look at it another way. Don't focus on the word "judgment." Instead, think "justice." Think about wrong being made right, good conquering bad, love wiping out hate. This type of justice-seeking is the role Christ plays as he "sits at the right hand of God." He will make things right and restore justice to a world full of injustice. And while the world seems out of control—when it seems like people everywhere are thumbing their noses at God—Jesus is watching closely. And ultimately, justice will be done, evil will pay and good will triumph forever and ever (Revelation 20:11-22:5).