Sunday, June 1, 2014

Rejoice in the Ascended Jesus! - He Presides upon His Throne and has sent the Holy Spirit

Luke 24:50-53 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising God.

We have been now on the glorious truth of Christ's ascension for the past three days.  My prayer has been that these last several posts have brought glory to Him and has caused you to have a more exalted view of Jesus Christ. Today's post aims to explain why the ascension of Jesus Christ is cause for rejoicing. In the opening passage above, we see the disciples' response to seeing the blessed Lord ascend into heaven: "And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy." 

As we saw in yesterday's post, the Ascension of Jesus Christ has as its background understanding a very Jewish and Biblical understanding concerning its meaning. In other words, Jesus' ascension into heaven was not just some neat trick He did for His disciples before leaving them.  Rather, when compared to passages such as Psalm 47 and 68, Jesus was demonstrating His full and undiminished Deity as the glorified and resurrected God/man. In both of those Old Testament passages, when Yahweh is depicted as "rising up" or "ascending", the Biblical author expresses joy.  Why is there such cause for joy? The anchoring point for today's post, and perhaps the next, will be: Focusing upon the ascended Jesus increases your joy in Jesus.

So why should you and I rejoice in the ascended Jesus? First note...He presides upon His throne!

Jesus' Ascension means He Presides upon His throne
Knowing that Jesus Christ reigns upon His throne ought to cause any Christian to rejoice more in Him.  Knowing that He presides spiritually over the affairs of history and more specifically over the church ought to bring peace to everyone who names Him as Savior, Lord and Treasure. The following scriptures will serve to bear this out:

1. Acts 2:34-36 "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, 35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

2. Colossians 1:16-18 "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."

3. Hebrews 8:1 "Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens."

4. Hebrews 9:24 "For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."

5. 1 John 2:1 "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

As I was writing this I decided to read those verses out loud just to see what effect they would have on me.  Frankly, those scriptures caused peace to flood my soul. Why? They speak of the fact of the ascended Christ on His throne.  To know He is in charge, in control and holding all things together causes me to have a much bigger view of Him. He is my King, who reigns over me.  He is my High Priest who represents me. He is my Prophet who speaks to me through the scriptures. He is not only transcendent or more powerful than anything, He is immanent or nearer to me than I can imagine. He retains His humanity to represent me in Heaven and by the Holy Spirit He in His Deity can be everywhere you and I are.  

So again, Focusing upon the ascended Jesus increases your joy in Jesus. He presides on His throne and now notice the second joyful implication of Jesus' ascension....

Jesus ascension means the Promised Holy Spirit has come. 
Once Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1, the next big event that would occur ten days later would be Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit's full manifestation on that day birthed forth the church and fulfilled the promises Jesus had made to His disciples.  Jesus never breaks His promises! Notice how often Jesus promised the Holy Spirit once He ascended into Heaven:

1. John 14:16-17 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."

2. John 15:26-27 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

3. John 16:8-10 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me"

4. Acts 2:33 "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear."

5. 1 Corinthians 12:4, 12-13 (4) "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit." (12) "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

Now when you read those verses out loud, you will discover just how trustworthy our ascended Lord truly is. We have cause to rejoice in the ascended Jesus! He presides upon His throne and He has sent the Holy Spirit Whom He promised. Remember: Focusing upon the ascended Jesus increases your joy in Jesus. 

More tomorrow.......