Introduction: Because of His strong faith in His Father and His victory over every form of opposition through the Cross, Christ is full of joy at the prospect of His work for us in heaven. He is so full of joy forty days prior to His ascension that He speaks of it as a present reality in John 20:17! In the same way, He amazingly views the time between His ascension and His Second Coming as just “a little while” in John 16:16! Let’s look at the awesome subject of Christ’s joy in being in Heaven on our behalf in this week’s notes – as well as marveling at His great desire to have us with Him there!

Mon/Tues/Weds: read John 16:8-24. At first glance Jesus could be understood as speaking in John 16 of His impending death, (“a little while and you will see me no more”), followed “a little while” later by His post-resurrection appearances. But notice how the Apostles talk among themselves in John 16:17 – connecting this “little while” of Jesus’ departure and return with what Jesus said in verse 10 about “going to His Father.” It seems most natural, then, to understand that Jesus is speaking about His ascension to the Father, and then “after a little while”, His return at His second coming and judgment. That is what the disciples seem to think they hear from Jesus. But wait, we may say! How can Jesus speak of the long period until His return, (which Jesus must have known would be a long time), as “just a little while”? The timing of all this confuses us as much as it confused the Apostles!

But, once again, we fail to appreciate how the strength of Jesus’ love for us, and how His eagerness to work each day to make us His bride, would make the time between our engagement to be the Lord’s and our ‘wedding supper’ upon His return just a “little while” for Him! It is much like Jacob’s years of labor to win Rachel to be His wife in Genesis 29:20 – “they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her”. In the same way, how beautifully comforting for us to learn that Jesus is counting the days – and busying Himself to make all necessary preparations in heaven for us. As soon as all that work is done up there, He will return without a moment’s delay!

This is why we are not to be overly concerned that we “know not the day or the hour” according to Acts 1:7. If the date of Christ’s return is so eagerly anticipated and planned for by Him, so that He will return from Heaven as soon as His work there for the church’s welfare is finished, then clearly we have no need to worry about times or dates!

Meditate and Pray: “Lord Jesus, thank you once again for the eagerness of your love for us, that you are making such good use of your time for us in Heaven. Thank you for the promise that, “yet a little while, and you shall come and not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37)!”

Thursday: read Psalm 2. We want to begin this day by acknowledging how Jesus’ prayer-life in Heaven rules over our daily existence here: “Jesus, thank you that because of your Ascension, you now exercise an all-prevailing and omni-present ministry of intercession and kingdom-rule:

  • You ask for the nations (Psalm 2:8) – and world-wide missions are born because of your request!
  • You ask for individual sinners to be converted, and the Spirit applies your redemptive work by working faith in each elect heart unto saving faith and repentance.
  • You ask for sin and evil to be restrained, and revival breaks out on earth, as “repentance and faith are proclaimed to all nations” (Luke 24:47).”

“Thank you for teaching us that everything arises because you have asked for it to be done. Oh, increase our trust in you as you “live to intercede for us and for the nations” (Hebrews 7:25)! “Increase also our gratitude as we realize anew that all good things in our lives arise because you ask for them to be given. We magnify you as our generous and giving heavenly King and High-Priest. Amen.”

Fri/Sat/Sun: read Revelation 1:1-20. For our first set of Bible notes on the Book of Revelation, (to which we will return later this year), notice that, in order to comfort and strengthen John the Apostle, (imprisoned on the isle of Patmos), as well as the persecuted church at the end of the 1st century A.D., God reveals the glory of His risen and Ascended Son, our Savior, in Revelation 1:12-20. But notice especially how Christ is revealed in His ongoing Heavenly ministry in Revelation 1:13. It is “in the midst of the lampstands” that Jesus stands as our High Priest to intercede before His Father!

In other words, it is the embattled church on earth that Jesus helps as He walks among the lampstands, symbolizing the light of witness of each church in Asia Minor, (See Revelation 2-3). Our Lord Jesus is much closer to us in our trials and challenges as His suffering church than we often realize! Listen to these words by Professor John Murray, that sum up Jesus’ ministry for the church on earth:

“The church on earth as the body of Christ is the sphere of His activity in His capacity as high priest at the right hand of God. To use the symbolism of the book of Revelation it is as the high priest that He walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks and in that capacity He addresses the seven churches in Asia. The epistles to the seven churches are, therefore, examples of the way in which, as a Son over His own house and as our apostle and high priest, He administers this heavenly office. Truly Christ executes His kingly office as head over all things to His body the church. But Christ is a priest upon His throne, and we must not allow the consideration of his kingly office to eclipse that aspect of Christ’s heavenly activity with which we are now concerned … What we are concerned with now is to recognize that His specifically high priestly ministrations are more operative and pervasive in the church upon earth than we are frequently disposed to appreciate.

Meditate and Pray: How often do you think of Jesus’ ‘prayer-life’ on your behalf in Heaven? How often do you recognize His role in giving you answers in your life to prayers you have not prayed? Do you, as so many do, view what happens in your life as flowing merely from God the Father’s sovereign Providence? To be sure – God’s Providence rules over all things for your good! But Christ Jesus is far more concerned with us than to merely rule over our lives! He asks personally for all needed blessings and provisions to be given to us in His Name! And every grace we receive from Heaven flows to us through His nailed-pierced hands!

Sing about Christ’s Heavenly intercession with the words of hymn # 305:

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for ev’ry race,
His blood atoned for ev’ry race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry,
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry,
Nor let that ransomed sinner die!

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And Father, Abba, Father, cry.