Sitteth on the right hand of God
If you’ve been playing some energetic sport like football or netball you may feel quite tired when you get home, and you’re glad to sit down and have a rest. Of course, people don’t just sit down to rest, often people sit down to work. In fact, you can tell the kind of work people do by where they sit. For example, someone who sits at a supermarket checkout is a shop assistant; someone who sits on a tractor is a farm worker; and someone who sits on a throne is a king or a queen.
Sitteth on the right hand
So when we say in the Creed that Jesus ”sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty” in Heaven, we mean that he is King of Heaven.
If you read in a history book that Edward II sat on the throne of England for 20 years, you know that it means, not that he was sitting down all the time, but that he reigned for 20 years. In the same way, when we say that Jesus sits at God’s right hand, we mean that he is reigning in Heaven as King.
Why at the right hand? Because we think of that as the most important place. The right hand is the important one; we shake hands with it and salute with it. That is why at a public meeting or dinner the most important visitor or guest always sits at the right hand of the chairperson or whoever is in charge. So to say that Jesus is at God’s right hand means that he has the most important or highest place: as we sing in the Ascension hymn (1):
“The highest place that heaven affords
is his, is his by right,
the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Reverence to the King
This is a very good thing for us to remember. We sometimes think of Jesus as just our Friend and no more. Of course, he is our Friend but we must never forget that he is also King of kings and Lord of lords.
If he were only your Friend, you might behave to him as you do to your other friends. You look on them as your equals and that is why you sometimes treat them in a disrespectful way. So, looking on Jesus as just one of yourselves might make you disrespectful to him, that is, irreverent. But because he is our God and King we have a tremendous respect for him and show it by our reverence. That is why, when we come to church to worship him, we behave better than at any other time or place, and we are careful always to speak reverently of him.