Friday, July 5, 2019

The Ascension

When the Disciples saw Jesus for the last time it must have been quite a sight. The account recorded by Luke in the book of Acts says, “And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9 (ESV)

Think about when you are about to be away from people that are important to you, such as family, close friends, or possibly even an employer or employees. The last thing you say to them is usually very important. I love you! Be sure to … Don’t forget to … If {this} happens then call … Hopefully those you are leaving behind already know these things, but because it is important you want to make double sure they know it.

I believe the same thing is true about the final encounter the Disciples had with Jesus. He is leaving earth to be seated at the right hand of His Father in Heaven. There He will continue His reign as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. There He will make intercession for us, speaking to the Father on our behalf. However, before He left He gave some last minute instructions to those closest to Him.

Acts 1:6-8 (ESV)
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

After all the events of Easter week, His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Passover meal with the Disciples, being betrayed, tried, and crucified, then buried and coming back to life three days later, He then lived among them again for several weeks before this moment. Still some wanted to know if He would conquer Rome and free Israel. He told them to not worry about those things, “but …”! This is it. The final word He gave them. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes! He will empower you to be witnesses!

He could have reiterated the greatest commandments, “Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” He could have highlighted a few choice moments from the Sermon on the Mount, like the Beatitudes or one of the parables. He could have had them all recite “The Lord’s Prayer”, or a myriad of other things. But what He chose as His parting words would be the most important thing that would happen next in God’s plan to fully restore mankind back into fellowship with Himself.

The Holy Spirit, as Jesus called Him, “Another Comforter”, would soon be sent to inhabit the Believers. This would change things in a profound way. Until now, the Holy Spirit had come “upon” people, but now He would live “in” them. This is what made the New Covenant “better”, because now we have God within!