It is never easy saying goodbye, but it was now 40 days since Easter Day and it was time for the Jesus of earth to become the Christ of heaven, as he said goodbye to his disciples to return to his father. So he took them to Bethany, and as he was blessing them so he ascended heavenwards through the clouds. How did the disciples respond to this momentous event?
A – They stared (Acts 1 v 10.)
They could not take their eyes from the heavens, being transfixed by what they had just witnessed.
B – They worshipped (Luke 24 v 52.)
Some of them had already experienced the glory of Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, but now that they had all witnessed it, the only appropriate response was to worship.
C – They rejoiced (Luke 24 v 52.)
Instead of being sad and wallowing in a sense of loss, the disciples rejoiced, perhaps because the angels told them that one day they would see Jesus again.
D – They praised (Luke 24 v 53.)
Once back in the Jerusalem temple, where they waited for the coming of the Spirit, they spent their time in praising God.
But what are the implications of the ascension for the believer? Five implications spring to mind:-
1 – Preparation.
Jesus returned to heaven to prepare a place for his followers (John 14 v 2.) So the ascension reminds us that this world is not our true home (1 Peter 2 v 11 & Philippians 3 v 20), and so there is a need to lift our vision heavenwards (Colossians 3 v 2.)
2 – Possession.
Jesus returned to heaven in order that his followers might receive the promised gift and power of the Holy Spirit (John 16 v 7) who would now replace the bodily Jesus in this world and would not be restricted by time and space. So the ascension reminds us that we are now empowered and gifted by the Holy Spirit for effective ministry.
3 – Position.
Jesus returned to heaven, after humbling himself on earth by taking the very nature of a servant (Philippians 2 v 7), to a place of honour and glory at the father’s right hand (Matthew 26 v 64 & Philippians 2 v 9.) So the ascension reminds us that we serve the one who is in the place of all rule and authority.
4 – Prayer.
Jesus returned to heaven, not to retire, but to exercise a prayerful and priestly role on behalf of his people (Romans 8 v 34 & Hebrews 7 v 25.) So the ascension reminds us that Jesus represents us before God, in order that the effectiveness of our prayers might rest upon what he has done.
5 – Pause.
Jesus returned to heaven to wait for that momentous day known only to the Father when he will return to earth in power and glory (Acts 1 v 11.) So the ascension reminds us that Jesus is one day coming back and that we need to be ready and prepared.
Challenge – How do these five implications of the ascension impact you personally?
Theme: “Going ….. Going ….. Gone!”
Readings: Luke 24 v 50 – 53 & Acts 1 v 6 – 11
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills