Acts 1:8-11. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Jesus at large. No longer limited to an earthly existence, Jesus has ascended into heaven and has become “a life giving spirit.” The physical presence of Jesus will be replaced with the spiritual presence of Jesus – you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
For the Christian the ascension is a pretty big deal. Without the ascension there is no union with Christ. Without the ascension Jesus is not on his throne. Without the ascension we are without purpose. And without the ascension we are without power.
Jesus on his throne – by the ascension Jesus is seated in heaven in his rightful place on the throne of the universe. A throne that is beyond time and space. Jesus is now the enthroned king of heaven and the enthroned king of our hearts. We don’t need to make a pilgrimage to his palace or a trip to his temple. His throne is in us, securing our co-dominion with him over the new heavens and the new earth.
We have purpose – by the ascension we have our marching orders for life. As we saw yesterday we have been sent out to make disciples; creating student-teacher relationships where we share life together as we learn how to love God and one another. We are not meant to stand looking into heaven until Christ returns. We are meant to get to work, sharing the good news of Jesus with others. How? By being witnesses. Not just bearing witness. Being a witness. Our entire lives sharing the gospel story.
We have power – by the ascension Jesus is seated in power over all things. As head of the church, he is ruling the universe for our good and his glory. We share his power.
- Power over all enemies – every spiritual force of darkness is conquered.
- Power over all guilt – Jesus’ sacrifice for sins was fully accepted by God. We now walk boldly into his throne room seeking grace in time of need.
- Power over all hopelessness – the man Jesus does not dismiss our human frailty. He transforms it.
- Power over fear – Jesus’ ascension ensures that we are forever looked upon with favor and fondness by the Trinity.
- Power over weakness – Christ’s ascension is only made possible by his crucifixion. His weakness transformed into his power. We too will experience his power in embracing the weakness of his self-sacrificing love and grace.
By the ascension of Jesus, we have the personal presence of Christ with us and in us at all times by the Spirit. Now the deepest connection to the love of God ever imagined or experienced is ours in Christ. If only we would truly believe this.
“To live is Christ” is to live in all the power of the ascended Christ. To receive his Spirit. To receive God’s presence into our very being. And then to share that presence with one another as we stop gazing into heaven and start sharing the greatest story ever told with our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even the ends of the earth.
Do you ever feel powerless or alone? When?
You in Christ
In Christ you have been filled with all the power of Christ’s crucifixion. How might Christ’s power look different from the “world’s” definition of power?
Christ in you
What might be a way that you can be a witness in your “Jerusalem” today?
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