Summary: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” Acts 1:8.
Theme: Christ our hope is on the throne
Introduction: Today is Ascension Day and this event took place on a weekday. This helps to remind us that Christianity is not just a Sunday activity but an everyday one. This event took place forty days after Easter. During this time Jesus gave His disciples their last instructions after giving them a fuller understanding about what He had come to accomplish that was only possible after they had experienced the power of His resurrection. Then he blessed them and ascended into the heavens until a cloud hid Him from their eyes. Instead of being sad, Luke tells us in his gospel that the disciples were filled with joy. They had reason to be filled with joy because Christ’s ascension to the Father’s right hand, the place of all authority, is a testimony of Christ’s eternal glory. Christ our hope is on the throne.
Christ’ ascension back into heaven to be at His father’s right hand means that He had successfully completed His mission on earth. What still needed to be done is to be done from heaven from where we would receive the Holy Spirit as our guide and councillor. His mission on earth was to save the world from sin and prepare it for heaven. The fact that Jesus ascended means that we can be sure of our salvation and heaven because not only has every sin been paid for but His righteousness has been credited to our account and we now have a friend in heaven. Christ’ ascension also meant that His disciples, and we are included, now have a friend in heaven who occupies a place of authority, seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. We have a friend who intercedes for us bearing in His body the marks of the great price He paid for our salvation. When Christ saves us He forgets our past and therefore cannot forsake anyone who has put his or her trust in Him. As believers we continue to sin but when we do the Lord Jesus just has to lift His hands and show the marks that prove the full payment for our sins, past, present and future. That’s why the writer of Hebrews says, “…He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” Heb. 7:25. Christ’ ascension also assures us that Christ will return. The Scriptures attest to this because after Christ had blessed His disciples and ascended into heaven, the angels declared that He would return in the same way. Only when He comes again it will be in power and glory as the king of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus, at the beginning of His public ministry, overcame the Devil in the wilderness. The Devil’s temptations for 40 days in the wilderness only strengthened Jesus and humiliated the devil. After His resurrection Jesus triumphantly paraded His victory over sin, death and the grave for forty days. He again humiliated the Devil and his works and paraded His victory before His faithful followers so that they might share in the joy of His victory. These 40 days were very important to the believers for they established the reality of His Lordship and assured the disciples of His power and authority. His ascension was a further demonstration of His supernatural power. His body had to overcome the law of gravity proving that in the resurrection body of Christ higher supernatural laws were now in operation. Imagine an aircraft standing on an airport runway. It weighs many tons and is firmly clamped to the ground by the force of gravity. It cannot possibly fly. That is until the power of the jet engines are turned on and the laws of aerodynamics come into their own, proving that there is a force which can overcome gravity. So it was with the Lord Jesus. Death and the grave could not hold him when his Father raised him from the dead in a glorified body, and in like manner the Earth could not hold him when the time came for him to return to his Father. He was simply lifted up operating under higher supernatural laws. The last thing the disciples saw were the nail marks in His hands as He lifted them up to bless them. The first thing we will see when He comes will be the nail marks in his hands, the symbol that our sins were atoned for on the cross.
Christ has won a victory over Satan and death. This does not mean that there are no longer enemies of Christ around. We all know they are around but because of Christ’s victory we can conveniently deal with them. One of the first things that Christ did from His place of authority on God’s right hand is to send the Holy Spirit. He comes to live in the believer and our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit. He has unlimited power to grant victory, success, freedom, and abundant spiritual fruit to us. We may be here on earth but we have heaven within us. Christ wants to show off the believer to the world. His abundant provisions take care of our various needs and to enjoy wholeness of life in every area is something the world cannot fail to notice. Christ wants the believer to arise, get rid of those burdens that are crippling us and remove the yokes from our necks so that the glory of Christ can be seen in us. Christ wants us to continue to exercise His victory over His enemies. He has given us everything we need to lead such a life. We are the ones who are to make the enemies of Christ His footstool. Our only hindrance is that we do not know or believe who we are in Christ. We are to witness about Christ and set the captives free.