Thursday, October 27, 2016

A closer look at the key texts of the event of Christ's ascension

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Acts 1:11 "They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

In our last post we began considering an introduction to the event in scripture that is known as "Christ's ascension". We commented on a few Bible verses and how this event relates to His resurrection and to our lives. In today's post we want to take a closer look at more key passages that refer to the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Taking a closer look at the key texts which record Jesus Christ's ascension 
Jesus Himself had predicted during His trials and journey to the cross that He would ascend to be seated at the right hand of God the Father in Luke 22:69 "But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” Such a statement is important and reminds us that Jesus' ascension into heaven was only possible because of His willing "descension" from heaven to earth. As the eternal Son came from eternity into time, He did so by means of in the virgin birth/conception - resulting in His incarnation or assuming unto His Person true and total humanity. Then of course, the point of His incarnation was to live and enter into His passion or sufferings on the cross, followed of course by His resurrection from the dead. 

The ascension as an event is recorded in the Gospels and in Acts. For now I just want to list the scriptures that record this event. Why? To remind the reader that this was no myth or fictional hallucination in the minds of the New Testament authors. This event really happened, in time and space, in history and among eyewitnesses.

Mark 16:19 "So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. "

Luke 9:51 "When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem."

Luke 24:50-51 "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."

John 6:62 "What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?"

John 20:17 "Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”

Acts 1:9 "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight."

Acts 1:22 "beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

Thus we see that according to Jesus Himself, the New Testament scriptures and the testimonies of the early Christians, the ascension functioned as a watershed event that would fix the identity of Christ's exaltation forever in the full testimony about Him.  

Closing thoughts:
I thought I would close out this post with a statement from the SBC "2000 Baptist Faith and Message". With other Bible-believing Christian bodies throughout the world, Southern Baptists strongly affirm the reality and significance of Christ's ascension.  Consider the following statement: "He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man." May we all think on the event of the ascension and why this event is so crucial to our understanding and worship of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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