Summary: The second part of the three part series on The Ascension. How if we Love Jesus and obey his commands our lives are impacted by the Holy Spirit. God dwells in us!
Mark 16:19-20 Jesus works with us as we do his will. Part 2.
Last week I started a two part series on the Ascension, That’s Jesus going into heaven where he is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
Again I will start with the point, that so much of what we know of Jesus after he was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven is a mystery.
In some respects I think that the Gospel writers left this a mystery. Why? Because their experience was that Jesus continued to work with them and evidenced himself so much in their lives, that they were assured he was with them even after the ascension.
Let’s look again at Mark 16:19-20: “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” (Mark 16:19-20)
Often in life we see that people see God as a concept more than a reality, they may have a picture him as a distant energy source, an angry man with a big stick, a violent lightening bolt thrower, or a cloud riding Santa Claus who rewards good boys and girls.
Jesus is often depicted as a character of history, a mystic healer, a rebel, a hippie, a prophet and many more descriptions.
Looking at his first disciples, those who preached his word, those who followed after him in the early days of the church; we see a group of people who were so sure that he was the son of God that he was God, and he was with them in their lives. They were willing to follow his way of living, his commands, his call on their lives and if necessary to share his suffering and death, by giving up their own lives for him.
We too can be assured that Jesus works with us, works in us, and for our good.
Last week we explored what it was to have Jesus working with us, from his place in heaven at the right hand of the Father.
This may be a little confusing but how often have you worked with somebody remotely, on the phone sharing recipes, on face book chatting, reading instructions, yelling something across the office.
Jesus is our Great High Priest who acts on our behalf with our Heavenly Father. Remember what was discussed last week that ‘Jesus works with us as we do his will.’
So if we are doing the will of God; (which funnily enough is similar to our vision statement “Living for God; serving all people) Jesus is working with us.
How does Jesus work in us?
1) Jesus said these words to his disciples, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:15-18)
Jesus said this pre-crucifixion, pre-ascension, before the whole raised up and seated at the right hand of God scene.
Jesus is pointing out that the Spirit of Truth, aka The Holy Spirit, aka The Spirit of Christ, who at that stage was with them at that stage physically, would come through the Holy Spirit and be with them again.
Jesus said for this to happen the requirements were: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
Then what: “…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever-…”
How long will the Counsellor be with them? Forever!
The promise of Jesus to his disciples, those who love him; is the Holy Spirit working with them, but not only that, in them as they are obedient to his commands. If you have not experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in your life you don’t know what youre missing!
This is of great interest for a number of reasons. So much still had to occur before these events could occur, Jesus was making it clear that after his resurrection and ascension that he would not be leaving the disciples as orphans, or without his guidance.
Counsellor, if you look up words that have the same meaning as counsellor on the computer it brings up, psychotherapist, therapist, shrink and the like. While there are times by my own admission I could probably do with a bit of couch time, this is not what Jesus was talking about.