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Summary: Many Christians seem to ignore the Ascension, and even seem embarrassed to talk about Jesus physically going up into the clouds, but it is a historical fact. Jesus had done everything His Father required of Him, and He is now by His side working for us.

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Acts 1:6-11

Eph 1:18-23

The Ascension 29 MAY 2014

The New Testament records how Jesus died on what we now call Good Friday

and how He rose from the dead on what we now call Easter Sunday.

I prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday,

1. because the word Easter is not in the Bible, and

2. because the word Easter is derived from the name of the pagan god Ishtar.

….................................................................................................................................

Then the New Testament records how the risen Jesus spent 40 days

teaching His disciples, the apostles, on how to spread His teachings,

and build His church;

and then He physically ascended into heaven,

where He is now, seated at the right hand of the Father,

and from whence He shall return,

at some time in the future.

….................................................................................................................

40 days is 5 weeks and 5 days

so the Ascension is always celebrated on the 6th Thursday after Resurrection,

i.e. Easter, Sunday.

Next Thursday will see many Christians

gather for a special service to celebrate the Ascension,

to thank God for Jesus' incarnation, teaching, death and resurrection

and prepare themselves for His 2nd Advent

by repenting of their sin

and asking God to keep them strong in faith

whatever the world, the flesh and the devil throws against them.

….........................................................................................................................

The Ascension meant a lot to Jesus;

it meant He had completed His mission on earth,

His period of humiliation,

and could return to His Father

and His state of exaltation,,

and that He could send the Holy Spirit on the first believers,

to equip them to spread the Gospel from Jerusalem, through Judea

and to the ends of the earth.

….............................................................................................................................

What does the Ascension mean to us?

I t hink it is sad that many Christians give little heed to it

compared to Christmas or Easter or even Pentecost/Whit Sunday.

Even worse, many otherwise faithful and believing Christians

seem embarassed to talk to unbelievers about Jesus

rising up and disappearing into the sky.

….....................................................................................................................

It does take faith to believe that,

and share it with people outside the church,

who might be prepared to believe in some sort of God,

but Jesus physically rising up into the sky ….......................!!!!!!!!!!

….....................................................................................................

But if we believe the Bible;

if we believe in the virgin birth and Incarnation,

and if we believe in miracles and healings,

and if we believe Jesus rose from the dead;

why should we have problems in believing the account in Acts 1 verses 6-11?

….................................................................................................................................

There can be no neutrality about Jesus.

We cannot simply pick and choose from what the Bible says about Him,

believing what is comfortable to believe

and putting to one side those that are more difficult.

The Ascension is in the Bible

and the event is proof that we are dealing with more than a man.

Through His literal and physical ascent into the heavenlie,

defying gravity and lack of oxygen,

we see that Jesus was not only a prophet, but God in the flesh.

In MP162 Graham Kendrick wrote:

'From heaven you came, helpless babe,

entered a world, Your glory veiled, ….

this is our God, the Servant King.

He calls us now to follow Him

and bring our lives as a daily offerng

of worship to the Servant King'.

…...............................................................................................................................

Our Lord’s ascension was a climactic, glorious event;

it saw His exaltation to the right hand of the Father,

from where He originally came to earth through Mary.

Paul writes, “He who descended is the very One

who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe” (Eph 4:10).

…................................................................................................................................

Jesus humbly came to this earth; born in a stable;

He descended to a sin-racked planet, and even went to the gates of hell for us.

But 40 days after His resurrection He is seen returning to glory.

It’s important that we believe the account in the Bible is literally true,

and Jesus did not, as Mormons believe, sail to America.

….......................................................................................................................

Luke, a doctor, a learned man,

not someone easily taken it by liars or exaggeraters

tells us it took place “before their very eyes.”

Just as with the Crucifixion and iResurrection, there were eyewitnesses to it!

…..............................................................................................................................

It was a historical event.

It was a unique and spectacular moment!

The Bible tells us that Jesus ascended bodily.

This means that He took into the Father’s presence

the evidence of His sacrificial death,

the holes in His hands, feet and side.

…..............................................................................................................................

Hebrews 9:12 says, “through His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place,

and with it He secured our salvation forever.”

His sacrifice was accepted: divine justice was satisfied,

then, 'mission accomplished',

the Saviour was received home

as a beloved Son returning from a long and hazardous journey.

….................................................................................................................

On the day Jesus ascended to Heaven,

40 days after His Resurrection,

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