Summary: The description of the ascension of Jesus to heaven is an interesting one. It shows us how consumed we may be with the world and its values instead of being consumed with the Kingdom of God and the mission which Jesus gave to us.
This coming Thursday is the day that some churches celebrate as Ascension Day because we know that Jesus appeared among His disciples for forty days after His resurrection and then He ascended into heaven.
Normally we would celebrate the ascension of Jesus into heaven on the Sunday after Ascension Day but because next Sunday is Mother’s Day we will take a look at that wonderful event today instead.
As we look up Acts 1 we need to remember what’s been going on during this past 45 days or so.
The Triumphal Entry
Jesus clearing the temple
Many discussions with the Jewish leaders
The Last Supper
The garden of Gethsemane
The crowd changes from Hallelujah! To Crucify Him!
The crucifixion (mockery/casting lots for clothing/darkness/earthquake/veil in the temple)
Hiding in locked rooms
The Third Day
The road to Emmaus
The fish fry
Jesus gathers with disciples multiple times
Now the eleven remaining disciples are on the Mt. of Olives with Jesus
Let’s read verses 1-11
Let’s take a look at Acts 4:6 NIV
“Then [the disciples] gathered around [Jesus] and asked Him, ‘Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’”
OK, so here is Jesus. The disciples have been with Jesus. They have seen Him perform miracles of healing the deaf, blind, lame, crippled, demon possessed; feeding thousands with a small amount of food, calming storms with a verbal command, walking on the water and even raising the dead. They have seen Him tortured within an inch of His life. They have seen Him crucified, dead and buried. They have seen His physical resurrected body. They have seen Him eat. They have heard this once-dead Son of God teach. They have seen Him appear in a room even though all of the windows and doors were locked.
In all of this time, through all of these miracles, He has never once mentioned that He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time. And yet, here they are, insistently asking the same old question.
Last week the sermon was about Spiritual Discernment and I used an example of how spiritual discernment could be used in considering how to vote in an election based upon what we know from Scriptures and from the personal relationship with God which we should develop from walking through life with Him for years and years.
I only used that as an example that we should use spiritual discernment in every area of our lives and not to promote any particular political party or any candidate and yet it seems that that was how some folks interpreted the message.
In this verse we see the disciples asking their very last question that they would ever get to ask Jesus while standing on this earth and they are still in the same old rut. Wouldn’t it have been great if Jesus had said, “OK. You’ve only got one more question before I go so you’d better make it a good one …”
Would they have asked the same question?
Anyway, Jesus is about to ascend into heaven. Jesus is about to return to the Father. Why?
Jesus didn’t just come for a visit. He came to make us ready to be invited to His place.
He wants us to spend eternity with Him!
John 14:2-3 LEB
“In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places; but if not, I would have told you, because I am going away to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that where I Am, you may be also.”
Jesus is going to prepare a place for you and for me so that we can spend eternity with Him!!! PTL!!
We don’t know what that place will be like.
“As it is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.’”
Can I take just a little sidetrack into song lyrics once again? Just listen to the differences in these two songs.
So build my mansion next door to Jesus
And tell the angels I’m coming home
It doesn’t matter who lives around me
Just so my mansion sits near the throne
Is that really what heaven will be like? Will real born again, humble followers of Jesus Christ be contending for the mansion next to Jesus? Will it be like a huge Black Friday where everyone is sprinting for the best deals and brawls are breaking out over the best mansion? Really???
Now, listen to these lyrics:
I bowed on my knees and cried Holy … Holy … Holy