Summary: Jesus’ ascension assures us that he has fulfilled his mission to save us lost sinners and is now ruling all things for our good.
Worship Our Ascended King
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit guides our hearts and minds today is recorded in Luke 24:44-53:
[Jesus] said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.(NIV)
Dear friends in Christ Jesus, our Lord,
Every four years in the last half of January there is a party in Washington D.C. For at noon on January 20, the president-elect takes office. Whether he is beginning his first term or second term, it’s a celebration. The day often begins with the inaugural parade as the president-elect travels to where he will take the oath of office. After swearing to preserve, protect, and defending the constitution of the United States, he gives his inaugural speech. Then later comes the inaugural ball with famous names and high celebration, as the pomp and circumstance gives way to fun and entertainment.
In many ways our Savior’s ascension is like a president’s inauguration. As the eternal Son of God Jesus had always ruled as King of all. But his ascension shows us that now he rules not only as the Son of God but as the Son of Man as well. Jesus, the God-man rules as our ascended King. Let us worship him.
As the Holy Spirit works in us through this word of God today, may he stir us to worship our ascended King. That is the theme today. Worship our ascended King. Worship him with joy and celebration for our Savior’s ascension is greater than any presidential inauguration. Worship our ascended King in joy and celebration. What brings us to worship in joy and celebration? First of all, 1)he has fulfilled his mission for us. And also, 2) he reigns eternally for us. Worship your ascended King.
1) He has fulfilled his mission for us
Six weeks early, late Thursday night. The disciples thought all had ended. Jesus had been arrested. They had all scattered. The news grew worse. Jesus was condemned. He was crucified. He lay dead in the tomb.
What kind of king would suffer such cruelty? Who would honor such a weak and helpless king? Jesus appeared to have failed. “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter . . . he was cut off from the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:7, 8 NIV). The heartache of losing a presidential election was nothing compared to what the disciples had felt.
But what happened to Jesus, happened to him according to his will and plan. This had been God’s promise ever since Adam and Eve had sinned. The offspring or seed of the woman would have his heal struck as he crushed Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15).
But the disciples could not see Satan’s power crushed and crumbled. They saw their Jesus dead. They saw his mission fail, or so they thought. Even after Jesus showed himself alive again, even after they had touched his resurrected body, even after they had witnessed that the same Jesus that was nailed to the cross and still bore the nail marks, the same Jesus who had certainly died, that same Jesus was alive, risen from the dead – even then, they did not fully understand that all this was part of his mission. He had not failed; he had fulfilled his mission.
Since they did not understand, the risen Jesus told them that he had explained this to them before it happened. He opened their minds so that they could put two and two together and see that all that had happened was exactly as God’s Word, recorded in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, had said.
“Jesus said to them, ’This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44, 45)