Resurrection Reality – Ascension

Resurrection Reality – Ascension is a celebration!  Ascension is the coronation of our king as he returns to the glory of heaven to retake his throne.  He gave the church some work to do.

What do you think the odds would be in Las Vegas on the early Christian church surviving?  Christianity or the Way as it was known by some early on was seen as a sect of Judaism in the Roman Empire where Judaism wasn’t all that highly regarded.  There was no financial backing, in fact the treasurer got away with all the funds before committing suicide.  Finally there was no leader.  Well there was a leader, but you know about him.  He was arrested in the middle of the night, tried, found guilty, and executed.  He rose from the dead.  Appeared to many people for 40 days, and then he ascended into heaven.  The people that he left behind for the most part were uneducated; they weren’t what you’d call leader material.  Humanly speaking the odds were not in their favor.

On this Ascension Sunday we are reminded that no matter how bleak the future looked for the early Christian church, they had one very important reason to be optimistic, and so do we, Jesus.  Listen to the first verse of our text once more.  11 It was he Who was the he?  That would be Jesus.  Each year when Ascension rolls around the question jumps into my head, wouldn’t my job be easier if Jesus was still around?  There would be no more doubters or silly questions from movies.  We could just ask Jesus and he would tell us.

There are two things to remember.  The truth is he never really left us.  In our NIV Bible the last verse of the Gospel of Matthew finishes off with the great commission, And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  Do you remember how the King James Version put this verse?  And, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  The Greek word used there could be world or age, it’s a very indefinite period of time.  Think of Jesus’ words in this way – I’m with you until the ends.  Like when one of your parents’ life is about to end.  When your job comes to an end.  When your life is about to end.  From every point before that, and especially at those times of ending Jesus is with us.

The second point is back from our first lesson in the book of Acts.  Jesus is about to leave and one of the disciples pipes up, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  People in that age, even the Apostles, looked at Jesus as a perfect candidate for President.  So many people didn’t understand that his kingdom was not and still isn’t of this world.  If Jesus had stayed on earth no one would have cared about the forgiveness of sins that he won, they would just be looking for a free meal, a cure for cancer, freedom from oppression.

With Jesus gone physically from the scene, this is where the church comes in.  Christian walking together in faith growing together in the knowledge of Christ.

Want to hear more?  Watch this week’s message taken from Ephesians 4 – Resurrection Reality – Ascension.