May 20, 2004
- Christmas gets about a month of attention.
- Easter gets a weekend of attention
- Pentecost most often gets one day of attention
- Ascension is sometimes noted, often missed, seldom celebrated.
- I suspect years when we don’t even think about it.
- Yet it is one of the days which defines the time we are in.
Church calendar - significant events - Jesus came to earth, Jesus died, Jesus rose, Jesus ascended, Holy Spirit came, Jesus will come again. Of all these events, the ones which most significantly define our time - ascension and Pentecost.
Read Ascension story
Why is it so important for us to recognize it and live in the ascension?
- Where is Jesus now?
- When Stephen was being martyred, Acts 7:56 - Stephen saw Jesus “standing at the right hand of God.”
At the right hand of the Father having all authority and power.
Ephesians 1:19b, 20,21 - “That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
- important to know.
- who is more powerful - Jesus or George Bush?
- who has the final say - Jesus or the devil?
- who will determine the end of history - Jesus or random forces of nature or an evil dictator’s schemes?
- at the same time, we experience the power of the battle.
- Satan tempts.
- we are weak
- we can’t see God.
- we feel guilty for wrongs done.
Jesus is interceding for us!
Romans 8:34 - “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Hebrews 9:24 - “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.”
- We have an advocate
- one who lived among us
- one who having died for us AND has the right to speak for us.
- one who has authority to speak
- He is in God’s presence on our behalf.
Acts 1:8 - “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
important connection between ascension, mission and Parousia.
John 17:20 - those who believe through their message. - “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,”
The context of this is Jesus announcing his departure and praying for his disciples.
Promise also contained in it.
We saw Him leave - He will return in the same way. Acts 1:11 - “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
In another context of departure Jesus also says, John 14:2 - “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”
What significant knowledge that although Jesus is gone, He has gone to a place where He can help us more than he could if he were here.
In heaven, not just as victorious, but also on our behalf.
Rejoice because of our ascended Lord.
Sing - 233