Yesterday we looked at the last ten verses of the Gospel of Luke and if one is not careful you can almost miss a very important event in the Disciplesâ€™ life and all of humanityâ€™s history. In our modern Bibles we have subtitles to prepare our minds to process passages, but even still things are matter-of-factly stated at times. Look at verse 51:
â€œNow it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.â€ (Luke 24:51)
Christians have willingly gave ground on Scripture, particularly Genesis 1-11, because scientists dispute it. Many pastors and theologians do so because all that matters is believing in Jesus. Really? Do you think scientist will afford us our belief in Jesusâ€™ Ascension? (see the â€œAlready Goneâ€ DVD by Ken Ham)
The day after Jesus fed the five thousand, He was preaching by the Sea of Galilee and preached that He was the Bread of Life and that if we would believe in Him we would never hunger or thirst, telling us we must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood so that we could abide in Him and He in us. This offended many of His disciples, who left Him that day.
After they had left Jesus He turned to His twelve Disciples and said:
â€œWhen Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, â€˜Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?â€™â€ (John 6:61-62)
Did you notice that last part? Jesus was saying that if His teaching spiritual matters offended the many, what then would they think if He ascended into heaven right before their eyes. Looking back at the end of Luke 24, do you think they remembered Jesusâ€™ question from the Sea of Galilee?
I want you to read a devotional from Oswald Chambers that explains the importance of the timing of Jesusâ€™ ascension. However let me share a bit of it now:
â€œHis Cross is the door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God; by His Resurrection He has the right to give eternal life to any man, and by His Ascension Our Lord enters heaven and keeps the door open for humanity.â€
We cannot miss the importance of Jesusâ€™ Ascension; it is the fulfillment Davidâ€™s psalm about Godâ€™s goodness to Israel:
â€œYou have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, even from the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell there.â€ (Psalm 68:18)
Jesusâ€™ ascending to and dwelling in heaven as the Son of Man is what keeps the door open for humanity. But His place on the throne of grace is what gives us access to Him now while we remain on earth:
â€œSeeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.â€ (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Do you need mercy? Are you looking for grace? Are you in need right now and could use a helping hand? Then look to Jesus. He is our compassionate High Priest who understands what it means to be tested in the trials of life. The difference between Jesus and us is that Jesus faced those trials without sin. We have all fallen short of Godâ€™s glory and are dead in our trespasses. We need to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood for spiritual nourishment.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday commemorating Jesusâ€™ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His final week on earth. Right before He entered He paused and wept over the city:
â€œNow as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, â€˜If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.â€™â€ (Luke 19:41-42)
I pray the enemy has not hidden from your eyes the truth of Godâ€™s salvation through Jesus Christ offered to each of us. I pray as we come into Easter Week that many souls would be saved and wayward Christians would return home.
You may think that the door to heaven has been slammed shut in your face by the many sins you have committed.
Not true my dear friend.
That door was opened and remains open today by the Ascended Lord Jesus Christ.
Wonâ€™t you come to Him today?
Have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright Â© 2012 David Jeffers