Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ascension Day!

Today, as well as being the Election Day, is also the Ascension Day - 40 days after Easter Sunday, when we recall that Jesus was ascended into heaven.

Acts 1:1-11 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach [2] until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. [3] After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. [4] On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. [5] For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit." [6] So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" [7] He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. [8] But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." [9] After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. [10] They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. [11] "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

The cross meant Jesus had defeated our sin (by paying the price for them), his resurrection meant that he defeated death (by rising to new life), but his ascension means that Jesus has taken his seat at the right hand of the Father, waiting until the judgement. He intercedes for us in heaven, as our Great High Priest, who knows our weakness, because he was tempted as we are in every point (except without sin).

Perhaps in this more scientific age, some people might say, 'where is Jesus' - if his body went up, then where is it? This is not the easiest question to answer, but we believe that his body is in heaven, just as we will one day rise to be with him.

The important point for us is to remember that Jesus is coming back! He won't come back as a baby in a manger, but as the King and the Judge, who will judge each person according to their deeds - the most important of which is belief in him. Are you ready?

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