Summary: A sermon that attempts to interpret the ascension of Jesus for the believer today.
Taken up before their very eyes
Acts Chapter 1: 1 - 12
I once knew a man whose family had been very successful in business.
One of the principles that he had learned had been – buy in bulk. The sound principle he had been taught meant that if you bought a lot you got it at a better price and, consequently, made a greater profit.
Well, the time came, when the man was put in charge of purchasing by the family.
I want to protect his identity so I will change the details.
A man came into the purchasing department and was selling spring washers. Well the store sold a small amount of spring washers and prudence would suggest that he would buy a small amount.
But throwing caution to the wind the young man signed an order for a whole truck load of spring washers – even for this chain store it was a huge amount.
The spring washers duly arrived and of course the firm was in an uproar.
What were they to do with such a large supply of spring washers?
But ringing through the young mans ears were the words – Buy in Bulk!!!
Of course because he had a loving and sensitive family he learned his lesson and went on to be a successful businessman.
Perhaps he thought in his mind I am too young to take such responsibility.
Why did they put me in this position???? Could well have been the question in his mind.
“Nobody told me the principle of buying according to turnover!”
I feel so inadequate>
If he felt that way how do you think the disciples felt that day on the hill when Jesus ascended into heaven.
Here were the disciples looking up in the sky – catching their last glimpses of Jesus when – He simply vanished with a total air of finality.
Acts 1_, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 "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."
For forty days since his death and resurrection Jesus had variously been around his disciples and the Jerusalem community. Suddenly he was taken away.
Like my friend who was left in charge of the purchasing department they may well have felt that they were not yet ready for the responsibility.
But Jesus had talked to the disciples quite some time ago about this very event:-
John chapter 16 7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
It has been said that the ascension of Jesus is one of the most neglected seasons in the life of the Christian Church.
At the end of the gospels in various forms we read of the commission of Christ to the Church.
Matthew reports Jesus as saying:- Ch.28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
In this we find some strong clues as to why the ascension of Jesus is so pivotal to the Christian Church.
This morning I would like to encourage you about some of the details about Jesus Ascension and to show why, for us, it is an incredible miracle in it’s own right and also a pathway for success for us as Christians.
Suddenly we find ourselves responsible for sharing the Christian message.
But as one man said:-
One time, I made a homemade kite. I used about a thousand yards of my grandmothers crochet thread for the string. I let that kite out as far as I could on that string. So far in fact, I could not even see it. But I knew it was there because I could feel it pulling on the line.
The first thing we note is Jesus is still very much alive. AC 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."