“The glorified, ascended, still incarnate Jesus is in the Holy Place, within the true tabernacle (Hebrews 8:2) of which every earthly house of worship is at best a shadow. Yet in the Holy Spirit He is not removed from us. The Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, and brings His presence to us in worship, most especially in the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments.
And the Spirit lifts us up, spiritually, in our worship to the throne of God where Jesus serves as our advocate, priest, intercessor and worship leader. Through the Spirit, then, the ascended Jesus comes to be in our midst and through the same Spirit we are brought in Christ our High Priest into the Father’s welcoming presence.
So in worship, we may visualize Jesus standing in the midst of our sanctuary. His arms are outstretched and His head is raised to heaven. He has gathered us all and He is offering us to His Father even as He offers His praise. In our congregation, His congregation, Jesus sings to His Father: ‘Father, here I am. Here with the children, the family you gave me. Father, here I am! Within the gathered church I will lead your praise. To my brothers and sisters I will make you known. Father, here I am!’
This means that in the midst of every sanctuary, Jesus is leading our praise. In the tiniest church in the remotest region to the grandest cathedral in the heart of the city, Jesus is worshipping His Father, bringing His brothers and sisters with Him into the presence of God. For the Son of God who became man is still fully human, still in the flesh, still incarnate.
As a man He worships God. He has blazed the way before us. He has pioneered the path in His own flesh. And He collects us up, gathers us in His arms and presents us in praise to God the Father as those whom He has cleansed and redeemed and sanctified.
All of that is going on in the midst of our sanctuary, when we are there, sitting some mornings like bumps on a log, sleepy, distracted, bored, confused, and waiting for lunch. We may call the people to worship with the astounding news that Jesus is here with outstretched arms declaring to us the name of God, and declaring to God the names of His brothers and sisters assembled.”
–Gerrit Scott Dawson, Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004), pp. 136-137.