|Create Date||June 12, 2017|
|Last Updated||June 12, 2017|
(For word document click on title) The Ascension of our Lord
- the creed tells us that he ascended into heaven,
So why is it so important to realise this climatic event of the asacension?
40 days between Easter and the Ascension
- He appeared to Mary Magdalene
- On the road to Emmaus
- He appeared in the room where they were staying
- He revealed himself to Thomas
- He came to 7 of them on the beach while they were fishing
- He gave Peter his commission
- He gave John and Peter a message about their deaths
Read Luke 24 :44-53 and Acts 1:1-11
There are 6 important facts to consider about the Ascension
- Jesus continues to work after the Ascension (Acts 1:1)
- The Ascended Lord sent the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28; John 14:16; Acts 1:8; Romans 9:9-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18)
- Jesus is enthroned in heaven (Daniel 7:13-14)
- Jesus returns to the Father (John 20:17; 17:4-5)
- The ascended Lord is our high priest and mediator (Romans 8:34)
- Jesus will return (Acts 1:11; Matthew 24:30)
All 6 of those slides and points give us hope. But the one I want to zero in on is the 5th point. The one about Jesus being our high priest and mediator. If there had been no ascension we could not be taken into the very heart of God. Jesus had to go and prepare this place for us. And we are there now. We are with him, in him. It is the most amazing fact that our humanity – withal its varieties all its vulnerability has been taken – by Jesus – into the heart of the divine life.
Think of the harsh words from those Psalms you read. Jesus is taking all those hurtful words and awful things we have said – or even thought – and Jesus is telling the Father this. It doesn't mean that Jesus is telling us that any and every human cry is good. It doesn't mean that Jesus endorses (AGREES WITH) ideas about revenge on your enemies, or even shaking your fist at God the Father.
But it does mean that Jesus treats us, our feelings, our tumultuous personalities, as real. He takes us seriously. He takes us seriously when we're moving towards God and each other in love; and, amazingly, he takes us seriously when we're moving in the opposite direction – when we are spinning downwards into destructive, hateful fantasies. He doesn't let go of us and he doesn't lose sight of us when we seek to lock ourselves up in the dark. Jesus hears all the words we speak – words of pain and protest and rage and violence. He hears them and he takes them and in the presence of the God the Father he says,
'This is the humanity I have brought home. It's not a pretty sight; it's not edifying and impressive and heroic, it's just real: real and needy and confused, and here it is (this complicated humanity) brought home to heaven, dropped into the burning heart of God – for healing and for transformation. (St Augustine)
Jesus ascends to heaven. The human life in which God has made himself most visible, most tangible, disappears from the human world in its former shape and is somehow absorbed into the endless life of God. And our humanity, all of it, goes with Jesus.
Think of the sounds we don’t want to hear. A child being abused. A woman being beaten. An elderly couple being hi-jacked by a couple of thugs. The despairing tears of the hungry. Or the lonely. We don’t want to hear. But we mustn’t block them out. Jesus picks up the cry of the hungry and the forgotten. He hears the human beings that nobody else hears. And he calls to us to say, 'You listen too'.
And so the Ascension is the celebration of our glory. Because what happens to Jesus happens to us!
When Jesus was leaving the disciples he told them this:
Read John 12:32
God reaches into the parts of humanity that are way way far from glorious. That are rebellious and troubled and broken – and he breathes through all of that – to take us home and to drop all of this mess into the life of God. And the promise of the Father is that by the love of Christ spreading through us and in us, the world may be brought home to Christ, who brings it home to his Father.
We see and we hear what God can do. We remember that Christ has 'raised our human nature / in the clouds at God's right hand', and our compassion is deepened a hundred-fold, our awareness of pain is deepened a hundred-fold, and (please God) by the gift of the Spirit, our hope is deepened a thousand-fold.
So a question we can ask is this. Are we redeeming the time that we have until Jesus returns? Are we fulfilling the ministries he has given to the church? We have been placed where we are for a purpose.
Read Acts 1:11 It is the earth we should be dealing with not looking up to the sky! To be witnesses. Our calling is in compassion to a lost and broken world that needs Jesus
Remember that you are broken too. Take heart. Jesus knows your struggle and he feels with you. Jesus endured great suffering and is the most merciful and sympathetic counsellor and mediator. Take your cares and sufferings to him and he will take them to the Father
PRAY this PRAYER Ephesians 1:17-19b
17 God of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, Father of Glory: I call out to You on behalf of Your people. Give them minds ready to receive wisdom and revelation so they will truly know You. 18 Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. 19 Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe, and may it be done according to Your might and power.