Summary: We talk a lot about the resurrection but often skip over the ascension (when Jesus rose into the heavens). It's an important part of our doctrine and deserves some attention!
You can listen to the audio of the sermon on my podcast here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/697261/5543023
Core 52 Week 38 - Jesus Ascends
• Mom & Dad leaving us home alone, but make sure you do your chores.
• We blew the chores off and watched tv instead. Until… We hear the car pull into the drive.
• Go into maximum overdrive in the hopes we won’t get into trouble.
• The church often finds itself in the same predicament - we know what the mission is. We know that the Lord will return, but we’re not so hip on getting started.
• Too many distractions.
• Topic from Core 52 this week is the Lord’s ascension into heaven.
• Some esoteric sounding doctrine, but fundamental to our understanding of our mission.
Acts 1:6–11 6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
• 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus met with his disciples on Mt. Olive, gave them their ultimate commission and began to rise from the earth.
• His final miracle was his exit from earth.
• Two men dressed in white (angels) interpreted the event for the disciple. Apparently, Jesus’ exit was so engrossing the disciples didn’t even notice that there were angels present.
• They weren’t going into all the world. They were staring into the heavens.
• It took the angel’s message in v. 11 to remind them of their ultimate mission.
• In their context, it must have been an odd feeling to no longer have Jesus present either in his first or second incarnation.
• But Jesus’ departure was necessary to fulfill God’s plans for humanity’s salvation.
• Affirmed by the rest of the NT
Ephesians 1:20 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
1 Peter 3:22 22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.
• Every NT author except James and Jude attest to the ascension.
• After this, no more resurrection appearance (except to Paul).
How Does the Ascension Help Us Fulfill Our Commission?
Redemption: Jesus finished his task of salvation.
John 17:4–5 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
• And in fact, Jesus is now preparing a place for us.
John 14:2 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
Intercession: Jesus is interceding for us before God the Father
Romans 8:34 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Empowerment: Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to empower us for our mission.
John 16:7 7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.
Matthew 28:19–20 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Return: Jesus is preparing for his return at the end of the mission
Revelation 1:7 7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!