pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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The Way

Reading: John 20: 1-18

Jesus’ life and story are marked by a few events that are very significant to our faith.  First, the incarnate birth – born partly human to a mother and partly divine to a heavenly father.  Born of a virgin, without sin since birth.  His birth and the events surrounding it indicate to us that Jesus is a unique and special gift from God.

At the end of His life, Jesus experiences two other significant events.  The resurrection and ascension come close together.  Between His holy birth and divine death, Jesus teaches and heals for about three years, providing us an example of how to live and love both God and our fellow man.

While Jesus did raise people from the dead during His earthly ministry, He raised them back to mortal life.  In the resurrection of Jesus, it was God who raised Jesus to immortal or heavenly life.  Jesus’ resurrection is significant for both of these reasons.  Just as God alone initiated Jesus’ human birth, God alone brings Jesus back home to heaven.  God welcomes Jesus back to His eternal home as Jesus returns to the Father.

The ascension, or returning to God’s right hand, is the second significant event at the end of Jesus’ earthly life.  Jesus tells Mary, “I am returning to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.”  In this statement Jesus declares where He is going and also includes us in the relationship.  God is our Father and our God too.

As Jesus returns to His rightful place beside God, He returns changed.  He has lived on earth.  He has felt what we feel.  He returns to heaven and now intercedes for you and me.  He now stands between God and us.  The perfect lamb who was slain now offers mercy and forgiveness and grace.  He who was without sin now provides the way for us who struggle with sin the way to eternal life.  He ascended so that one day we too could ascend.  For this incomprehensible gift, we say  thanks be to God!

 


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Focus on Jesus

And thus endeth the story.  On this Ascension day we believe Jesus rose up to “heaven”.  Christ risen and Christ glorified!!  The gospel story concludes with this grand finale.  But is it really the end of the story?  No!  Jesus left the disciples with two great promises.  First, He promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon them in great power.  This power would lead them to preach the good news to all nations.  Second, He told them, “I will be back.”

From the time of the ascension to now and on into the future, the followers of Jesus are to work on the first promise until the second comes to be.  It could be tomorrow that Jesus returns.  It could be a long time from now.  No one knows except the Father.  When we allow the Holy Spirit to work fully in us, it is easy to share the good news of repentance and forgiveness and the promise of eternal life.Without the Holy Spirit, trying to do it on our own, it is hard to share the message of Jesus Christ.

The Ascension represents Jesus returning to the Father in heaven, wherever that may be.  Conceptually this places Jesus right next to God.  In this thought is the idea that Jesus is supreme.  He is above all.  Above my life, my desires, my priorities.  He is Lord of ALL.

How is that lived out?  My focus must be on sharing my story of Jesus with those who do not know Him.  In my community that is a large task.  This is OK.  I do not labor alone.  The Spirit goes with me and there are many coworkers as well.  May our mighty God provide the opportunities this day!

Scripture references: Luke 24: 44-53 and Acts 1: 6-9