brown wooden cross

Ascension day

In the past, Ascension Day was an official public holiday celebrated in many countries around the world.

Even though Ascension Day is no longer a public holiday, it is still an important event on the Christian calendar. We should take the time out to reflect and remember what Ascension Day is all about.

BACKGROUND

God is the creator of life. He made the world and everything in it.
God then made man.
Why?
He wanted a relationship with mankind who he created in his own image.
The first people he created were Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve used to have a close walk with God. They would commune with God daily.
But, the enemy came to mess up this relationship between man and God. He tempted Adam and Eve. They took the enemies bait. Immediately man’s relationship with God was destroyed. Man died a spiritual death.

If you look at the rest of the Bible, after the fall, it shows God’s redeeming plan of how he would make a way to save mankind.

Romans 3:10-12 tells us that “No one is righteous— not even one. All have turned away. It also tells us that everyone has sinned and that none of us were “good enough” to get close to a holy God.

Romans 3:23 tells us that we “All fall short of God’s glorious standard.“

We were in serious trouble. Our eternity was at risk. We were cut off from God, but Romans 3:24-25 reveals God’s good news.

Romans 3:24-25 says, “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.

God sent Jesus to buy us back. He came to bridge the gap so that we can come back into an intimate walk with God.

Jesus came to pay the full price for the sin of mankind, so that we can be restored.

Through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, you and I can once again have a relationship with God.

God is holy. He could not mix with sin, but he loved his people so much that he made a way to save us.

 John 3:16 tells us that: “God so loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

After dying on the cross, Jesus was buried in a tomb. But death could not hold him! He rose victorious on the third day, conquering death and settling the debt of sin once and for all.

Jesus then walked the earth for 40 days before ascending into heaven. This is why we celebrate Ascension Day.

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but before Jesus went on the cross, he actually told his followers that he was going to die, but that he would rise from the dead, to make a way for all mankind to come back into a relationship with God.

Jesus also told his followers that after he had paved the way for you and I to come back into a relationship with God, that he would go back to the Father. Jesus, however, told us that it would be better for him to ascend back into heaven, so that the Holy Spirit could come.

When Jesus walked the earth, he could only be in one place at one time. If you wanted to get to Jesus and he was in Jerusalem, you would need to get to Jerusalem to meet with him. Can you imagine the crowds of desperate people, who would travel from far and wide just to get to Jesus?

But Jesus told us that it is better that he goes, so that the Holy Spirit could come and be with us all.

Jesus told us that he was going back to the Father to prepare a place for us, and that he would then return later to fetch his people.

In John 14:3, Jesus told us that: “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”

But Jesus also made it clear that while he went back to the Father, that he would send the Holy Spirit so that we can have a close walk with God.

John 14:16-18 confirms this where Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.”

So before we read about the ascension let’s recap:

  • You and I were lost and cut off from God due to sin.
  • God set up a plan to save us.
  • This plan involved sending Jesus, his Son. He came to pay the price on the cross, so that sinful and messed up people could come back into a relationship with God.
  • Jesus paid the full price on the cross. He died for our sins.
  • Jesus also rose from the grave on the third day, defeating death and sin.
  • Jesus also told us that after he had paid the full price for our sins, that it would be better for him to go back the the Father so that he could prepare an eternal home for his people.
  • Jesus told us that it was better that he goes, so that the Holy Spirit could come.
  • The Holy Spirit wants to empower us and wants to live in our hearts, so that we can have a close and intimate relationship with God.
  • Jesus then ascended into heaven, but not before telling us that he would one day return to fetch his people. At that time, He will also judge the world.

The book of Acts gives us an account of this:

Acts 1:3-5 confirms this where it says: During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come after he ascended into heaven.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus also told us that: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Jesus confirmed that the Holy Spirit would empower you and I to reach the lost and broken with the good news, so that sinful people can be reconnected to God.

After telling us this, Jesus ascended into heaven

Acts 1:9-12 tells us: “After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!

As we reflect on the significance of this incredible event, I want to point out that JESUS IS COMING BACK!

When Jesus ascended into heaven, the angels stated that Jesus would one day return to earth from heaven in the same way that he left.

Jesus is coming back. Are you ready?

In Matthew 24:36-41, when Jesus spoke about the events that would happen at the end of time, he said, But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”

If Jesus returned today, would you be ready to meet him? He is coming back soon, to fetch his people, but also to judge the world!

In Matthew 24:42-44 Jesus warned us, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

In eternity there are only two destinations:

  • God’s Kingdom, where we will be with God forever.
  • Hell, where one will be separated from God for all eternity.

Where will you spend your eternity?

1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 it says, “Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.”

When Jesus ascended, the angels said that Jesus would return in the same way we saw him go.

In Matthew 24:30-31, Jesus told us: “And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world —from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.”

Are you ready?

In John 14:1-4 Jesus told us:Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Jesus continued in John14:6 saying:I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 says: “We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.”

THE GREAT DIVIDE

One day soon, when Jesus returns, there will be a great separation that will take place.

To illustrate this Jesus shared a parable in Matthew 13:24-30 about wheat and weeds: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

Jesus then explained the meaning of this story about the wheat and the weeds.

In Matthew 13:36-43, Jesus said: “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

This Ascension Day, I ask you to reflect on what God has done for you.

God made a way for sinful man to be forgiven and to find eternal life. On the cross, Jesus ushered in a New Covenant between God and man. No longer does man have to live a life separated from God. Jesus made a way so that we can come back to God.

God has made a way for you to have a relationship with Him. This relationship can start today, and goes right on into eternity.

God wants a super close walk with you. He wants to send his Holy Spirit to come live in your heart! He wants an intimate walk with you. He wants to lead and guide you on the best pathway for your life!

One day there will be a great divide. Jesus is coming soon.

Are you ready?

If you are not ready, I implore you to come surrender your life to Jesus. Come to Jesus. Today is your day for salvation.

If you want to start or restart your walk with God, click here to pray a simple prayer we have set up for you.

The final words of Jesus before he ascended:

Lastly, do you know what Jesus’ final words were before he ascended into heaven?

If you were leaving on a long trip, or if you were not going to see your friends and family for a while, I am sure that your final words to your loved ones would be very important.

Do you know what Jesus said?

In Mark 16:15-16 Jesus said, Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.

When Jesus shared his final words, he made it clear that we are called to share the good news with those who are lost and broken.

The good news is that God has made a way through Jesus for all mankind to come into a relationship with him. The good news is that no one is disqualified.

This free gift is available for all. This includes you!

You cannot earn this gift from God. You and I do not deserve it. Jesus paid it all in full so that we can be set free from sin and come into a relationship with God.

Today you can come to Jesus and you can lay your burdens down. You can put your faith in the finished work of Jesus!

Do you see the love of Jesus?

His final words were “Go” tell the good news to all creation.

God does not want to see anyone perish. He wants all people to be saved and this includes you!

God calls you to go share this good news.

You may know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but what about your family and friends?

If your family and friends are lost, you need to go share the good news of hope with them. Jesus is the Savior and he has come to make a way for all the people of the world to share eternity with God.

So many people have lost their way. So many are “skating on thin ice”. So many are living with no thought of eternity. Some are walking straight into hell, without even realizing the consequences of their actions.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus told us that we: will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses telling people about me everywhere.

God is calling you to share this good news with people in your circle, and he wants to empower you to reach your world!

In Mark 16:17-18 Jesus concluded: These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

God wants to empower you to reach your world. If you are God’s child, he calls you to be his ambassador and to share the greatest hope with those who have lost their way.

We were cut off from God. Jesus paid the full price. He died for your sin. He rose again, conquering death and defeating sin. Jesus saves!

God has sent his Holy Spirit to empower you and to lead you!

Jesus ascended into heaven and he is coming back to fetch his people and to judge the world.

He calls you to share this good news. He promised to empower you to reach out to the lost, the broken, and the battered.

Mark 16:19-20 tells us that: “When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

This Ascension Day, God is calling you back into a relationship with him!

God is calling you to share this good news with all people he brings across your path!

Jesus paid the full price for our sin, so that we can be forgiven and have a relationship with God. The Holy Spirit wants to lead you and guide you, and he wants to empower you. Just as Jesus ascended into heaven, he will soon return. He is coming back soon! And God is calling you to share this good news with all people he brings across your path.

God bless you.

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1 thought on “Ascension day”

  1. Pingback: The Holy Spirit and Pentecost: God wants to fill you! | betteryouliving

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