The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Horse and Colt
(Photo by Brenda Harry)
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"Ascended To Glory"
"After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "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" (Acts 1:9-11).
Today is Ascension Day. In many Christian traditions little thought is given to Ascension Day. I’m not just speaking in general, but also from my own upbringing and even my years of pastoral service. But Ascension Day is set apart as a holy day and commemorated with a church service for the old order Mennonites and Amish. These communities of faith place special emphasis on this holy day. As we travel through the county where their numbers are especially prominent, stores and businesses will be closed in recognition of Ascension Day. Groups will gather in back yards and fields where they dine and fellowship together following their religious services.
There are several very specific events in the life of Christ and the church that we commemorate. At Christmas we celebrate the wonderful incarnation and birth of Christ. On Good Friday we focus on His sacrificial death and on Easter His glorious resurrection. On Sunday, May 23, we will observe Pentecost. But for some reason Ascension Day doesn't get nearly as much attention in most church traditions.
Today's Scripture portion gives us the most complete record of the Ascension found in the Bible. Jesus had just reinforced the Great Commission, the church's primary mission of reaching the lost, 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 40 days after He was resurrected from the dead. An ancient creedal statement of the early church found in 1 Timothy 3:16 states, "He was taken up in glory."
1 Peter 3:22 alludes to the Ascension and speaks about Christ, “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” The Ascension of Christ reveals His absolute authority. "He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe" (Ephesians 4:10).
After Christ ascended back to heaven two angels of the Lord dressed in white assured the early disciples that, "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."
The angels' promise of His return is reinforced and elaborated on throughout the New Testament. Paul calls it the "blessed hope." One day, soon, maybe even today, this glorious event will take place. Let us faithfully serve the Lord, and look to Him who has indeed ascended back to His Father, until that great promise is fully realized!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, though we don't know the day nor the hour, You have the blessed event of Christ's return on Your heavenly calendar. Even as the Son of Man ascended into heaven He will come again, but this time we have the blessed hope of ascending with Him and joining with those of like precious faith. Thank You for loved ones and witnesses of the truth who have repeated this glorious life-transforming message to us over the years preparing our hearts for this major event. May this be the resounding message from our own lips as we anticipate the glorious moment when we will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Help us to be faithful and eager for the blessed hope of Your second coming where those of us on earth will take up eternal residency in heaven. In Your name, Jesus, we pray as we watch for Your reappearing. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Glorious Day" Video Casting Crowns
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!
"I Can Only Imagine" Video MercyMe
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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