I want to propose a new celebration be added to the sacred calendar. I am not sure why it hasn’t already been suggested—it would commemorate an event that means so much to followers of Jesus, and I think we need more occasions to remember what He has done for us.
And yet, some of the holidays already on the books don’t get much attention. Many churches will observe the holiday Pentecost on Sunday, May 23. That Sunday celebrates one particular and extraordinary occurrence of the annual Jewish holiday known as the Feast of Weeks, also called Shavuot or Pentecost (See Jewish Facts of Life). But for many churches, May 23 will pass with no special emphasis.
Probably even fewer churches take note of Ascension Day, which occurred this year on May 13. Ascension Day is an ancient holiday in the church and in some countries, it’s still a public holiday. I’m not sure that the colorful customs associated with it have much to do with the biblical account. Still, the ascension of Christ does commemorate Jesus’ departure from earthly ministry and His welcome back into heaven, a significant event in our redemption story.
But the new holiday I have in mind—one that I haven’t found mentioned so far—is based on what Jesus did after He ascended to heaven. He sat down.
Let’s call my proposed new celebration “Enthronement Day,” based upon the declaration of the Book of Hebrews, “when He had by Himself purged our sins, hesat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). This event has rich spiritual significance, and I can think of at least seven reasons why it is worth setting aside a special day to celebrate it.
First, Jesus’ Enthronement Day is a direct fulfillment of Messianic prophecy: “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (Psalm 110:1). David envisioned the future fulfillment of God’s promise that one of his descendants would sit on the throne forever (see 2 Samuel 7:16). This Psalm of David is actually the one most often quoted in the New Testament. Jesus referred to Psalm 110 in presenting His Messianic claims to Jewish leaders in all three synoptic Gospels (Matthew 22:44; Mark12:36; Luke 20:42-43). Based on this Psalm, Jesus asked them to consider, “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” (Matthew 22:45).
Which brings us to the second reason to celebrate Jesus’ enthronement: it is a direct declaration of the deity of Jesus. The right hand of YHVH, the Holy One, is a unique place of exaltation; to sit there implies co-regency with the Almighty, an unambiguous assertion of Jesus’ rightful position as the second Person of the Godhead.
Third, Enthronement Day is a definitive commemoration of Messiah’s finished work of redemption for humanity. It is the logical conclusion to Jesus’ final words on the cross: “It is finished.”
Paul tells us that Jesus was declared the Son of God with power by the Resurrection (Romans 1:4). But as the author of Hebrews tells us, it was when Jesus had finished purging our sins that He sat down. The very act of sitting is a visual demonstration that Christ completed His work. That is cause for great celebration on the part of the redeemed. And yet His sitting down means more than completing the work of redemption. His work on our behalf continues. Which brings me to the fourth reason to celebrate.
Enthronement Day also signals Jesus’ heavenly work as our intercessor and our great Advocate before the Father (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1). Because He ever lives to make intercession, we can come boldly before His throne and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Which one of us could possibly stand if it were not for that wonderful, wondrous promise?
But fifthly, Enthronement Day signifies the continuation of Jesus’ ministry here on earth through the gift of the Holy Spirit, just as He had promised. Often in the days of His earthly ministry Jesus sat down to teach as was customary for a rabbi to do. Even as He sits at the right hand of the Father, His spirit teaches us still. He not only teaches, but He also comforts, encourages and equips us (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).
That brings us to the sixth reason to celebrate Enthronment Day. Jesus’ purpose in sending His Spirit to His church on Pentecost was specifically to empower His followers then and now to complete His work in fulfilling His Great Commission. He sat down so that His church might stand up to proclaim the gospel and to make disciples of all nations.
Enthronement Day is a reminder to all of us that we had better get off of our seats and be about the work of glorifying and exalting Him throughout all this world, throughout all of history until He returns. The Bible promises us that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. When He rises from His throne and returns to the earth it will be to take back what is rightfully His. And that brings us to the seventh reason to celebrate Enthronement Day.
Enthronement Day is a reminder of promises yet to be fulfilled. In the book of Revelation, the apostle has a powerful vision of Jesus as the Lamb, the Alpha and the Omega, the victorious One who is seated on the throne and whose Kingdom shall have no end. Enthronement Day is a reminder of the hope of heaven, where at last we will enjoy the final fulfillment of God’s eternal promises.
My idea of adding a new holiday to the church calendar is just a dream, but a real Day is coming, a Day that will never end, but will stretch into an eternal celebration of all of the redeemed. I’m just saying that we might as well get an early start on that great day of celebration.