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Thursday, May 25, 2006
"After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).
Today is Ascension Day. In most of Christendom this day doesn't have nearly the emphasis as other notable events in our Lord's earthly life such as His birth, death, and resurrection. I wonder how many readers even recalled that this was Ascension Day prior to reading this message? I probably would have missed it apart from my association with my Amish friends, who especially recognize this commemorative day and reminded me.
This day is one of the great WOW days of the early church. Can you imagine Peter telling his grandkids about it?
Acts 1:9-11 gives us the most complete record of the event. Jesus had just reinforced the Great Commission, the church's primary mission, and then He was taken up before their very eyes. This was important for the disciples to witness and is an essential part of the Biblical record. It reinforces that Jesus Christ is God and that He returned to His home in heaven. An ancient creedal statement of the early church is in 1 Timothy 3:16, "He was taken up in glory."
When Jesus was taken up the disciples gazed intently into the sky as He departed. Two men dressed in white (angels) suddenly appeared and gave a promise, "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."
That promise is reinforced and elaborated on throughout the New Testament. Paul calls it the "blessed hope". One day, perhaps soon, perhaps today, there will be another universal WOW day. Let us faithfully serve the Lord, who now sits at the right hand of the Father, until that great day!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Brooksyne's prayer: Jesus, Your physical life on earth is so important for all to see and comprehend God in the flesh. We have a picture of the Father through the life of the Son. You also came to bring salvation to mankind, willingly leaving the splendor of Your home in heaven to change the course of history and to redeem the fallen sinful race. Your ascension into heaven serves as a reminder that You completed Your mission on earth and are now at the right hand of the Father ever interceding for us, Your children. One day we will see You come in the same way You left, but on that day You will take us with You to spend eternity in the home that You have prepared for us to take up permanent residency. Help us to be faithful and eager for the blessed hope of Your second coming. In Your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Personal note: One of the blessings of ministry is keeping up with long-term associates in service for the Lord. Last night Rick Masciantonio stopped in to visit with us. He is in our area for a minister's conference. Rick, along with his family, was a part of our church in New England during the nineties. He was saved while in the Navy, the result of the faithful witness of another sailor. He has an active ministry for Christ serving in a state prison for over ten years leading a weekly Bible Study and in a preaching role in his local church. He expects to soon be recognized as an associate pastor in his church and is seeking the Lord regarding additional ministry. Here's a photo of Rick, along with our daughter Ester. Rick and his wife Elizabeth, have three sons who are near in age to Ester. We have many great memories of oor fellowship with this family.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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