Nov 7, 2014

The Most Important Session of All

3 Min Read

God said to David's Lord, "Sit at My right hand till I make Your enemies Your footstool" (Mark 12:36). When we study the biblical narratives of the life and work of Jesus, as well as the apostolic commentaries on those narratives, we discover moments of supreme importance in terms of redemptive history. These include His birth, His death on the cross, His resurrection, the Day of Pentecost, and His return. However, there is an element in the work of Christ that we almost completely overlook. It is the session of Jesus.

Churches that use the Presbyterian form of church government are led by elders, who collectively constitute what is called the session. The body of elders is known as the session because when they meet to deliberate, to establish policy, and to give supervision to the spiritual lives of the church members under their care, they sit down and discuss these things. Likewise, when we say that Congress is in session, we mean that our representatives are assembled and in their seats, ready to transact the business of the United States. The word session is appropriate to describe these situations because it is derived from the Latin sessio, which simply means "the act of sitting."

The most important session of all is the session of Jesus Christ in heaven. When Yahweh said to David's Lord, "Sit at My right hand," He was saying, "Be seated in the highest place of authority in the universe." Psalm 110 is a prophetic psalm, and David was saying by the Holy Spirit that when the Messiah had finished His labor in this world, He would be exalted to heaven and enthroned at the right hand of God. We declare that these things took place when we recite the Apostles' Creed, which affirms that Jesus "ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God." This was the early church's confession of belief in the importance of the session of Christ.

What does this mean for us? In simple terms, it means everything. We Americans pride ourselves on living in a democracy, but as Christians we live in a kingdom, one that is actively ruled by the King of kings. His reign is ongoing. Jesus is King at this moment. He is on His throne even now.

I love the legend of Robin Hood. In one version of the story, King Richard the Lionheart leaves England to fight in the Crusades, leaving his brother, Prince John, in charge of the realm. John mismanages the kingdom for his own benefit, forcing Robin and others to become outlaws. Robin and his compatriots, known as his merry men, live in Sherwood Forest, evading John and his henchman, the sheriff of Nottingham. The merry men are known for their joy, but they are known especially for their loyalty. They want to protect the realm until their king comes home. My favorite part of the story happens near the end, when Richard returns to England in the guise of a monk. At an inn, he hears talk about Robin Hood and his opposition to Prince John, so he purposely travels through Sherwood Forest. Suddenly, Robin and his men waylay Richard and his fellow travelers, and try to relieve the king of his purse. The king asks Robin, "Why are you doing this?" Robin replies, "Because of my allegiance to my king." Then Richard pulls off the monk's garments and displays the lion and the cross on his chest. Robin recognizes him and falls on his knees, saying, "My liege." In the end, Richard knights Robin because of his faithfulness during the absence of the king.

I love that story as a metaphor for the church. Our King is seated on the right hand of God. He expects us, His people, to remain loyal to Him while the whole world goes for Prince John. In time, He will return and put all things right.

An excerpt from the St. Andrew's Expositional Commentary on Mark, by R.C. Sproul.