In Isolation Thoughts 2

Sunday 24th May 2020

 

Bible Reading: Acts 1.1-11

He is Not Here, He has Ascended

This week was the week in the church calendar that notes the Ascension of Jesus back into heaven. It had been a busy time following the resurrection for Jesus had been with His Disciples, teaching them, showing them miracles and making himself known to the doubters. Not much is written about this period, we simply get little glimpses and some comments from other followers. One of the most significant comments in these verses is that He was proving that He was alive. His teaching revolved around the Kingdom of God. What He taught came out later as the apostles, as they were now, wrote about Him in the Gospels and the Epistles. It was an intense forty-day period. It would come to an end, He was not staying for ever, He must leave them and return to the Father in Heaven. So what happened?

Command to Remain

He met with them for a meal, how often that seemed to happen. While He was sitting with them, He gave them instructions on the future:

  • Remain in Jerusalem. The very place where the opposition to Jesus had come to a head. Was this the best place to be, perhaps they should go away from the centre of persecution, find a quiet village and set up a new commune where they could develop their faith, unhindered. No! They were told to stay in the foreground and face the opposition.
  • Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The place, in some sense, was not important, the Spirit could have been given them anywhere they were living. Yet we know that in Acts 2, they needed to be in the city to preach the truth to the multitudes who were present for the Feast of Pentecost. They would have a captive audience from across the known world. His death and Resurrection occurred at the time of a crowded Passover City, again it had a wide impact, so in the same crowded city, God wanted His Spirit to be seen in power.
  • Required clarity, as they got excited at what Jesus was saying. Their first thought was for national freedom, re-establishing the Kingdom of Israel. Jesus gently rebuked them, this is not your business, the Father has all these dates and time in hand, it is His remit and authority, not yours. They were being told to be patient, wait for God’s time.

Cause to Reveal

Jesus then gave them a hint at what was to come and the reason to remain in the city’

  • Reveal the truth, they were to be witnesses, they were representatives of Christ. It was quite specific, they were to be ‘My Witnesses’. They were given a mission of proclaiming what God had done, was doing and will do.
  • Route was also made clear, it began in Jerusalem, then in all Judea and finally in all the world. This must have been a shock, they had heard something similar before, suggestions of a mission for life, telling others, some were called to follow to be fishers of men at the outset, the haze was lifting. Was this what He meant at the side of Galilee that day?

Clouds Hid Him

Then He was gone! They were used to Jesus moving about with heavenly power, He had walked through the walls of the Upper Room, He had risen from the dead. This time it seemed final, they stood in a trance gazing into heaven. Yes, they had seen Him ascend in the clouds, He was gone. He was replaced in their vision by two men in white, who challenged them as to why they were standing there, just looking into the sky.

  • Revealed that Jesus had gone to heaven. It was not just short-term absence; He had really gone back to the place where He originally dwelt.
  • Restated the promise of the Upper Room on Passover night, when He talked about preparing a place for them. He also promised that He would come back to take them to be with Him. Now they were given the total assurance, that it would be, ‘This Same Jesus’ who would one day come back from heaven. This seemed to satisfy them and they went back to the city. They were now waiting for things to happen.

Command to Remain

Cause to Reveal

Clouds Hid Him

These three statements are true for us today. We remain in the place where God has put us. We have a message of hope to share, so we are witnesses. We witness locally- our Jerusalem, to the wider community-our Judea and beyond- our ends of the earth are the same as the Disciples. We have the Holy Spirit, God’s power, the message, God’s Word- The Bible and the knowledge that one day He will return from heaven, descending in the clouds to call His people to come home and live with Him.

Is the promise and hope of His Ascension making an impact on you and your world?

Music: YouTube: ‘We shall Behold Him’ sung by David Phelps.


Page last updated: 24th May 2020 1:05 AM
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