In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:1-6)
The Ascension of Christ has become a renowned day and event round the world. Different people will have their different response and views to it.
For the believers, we are fully aware that The Ascension of Christ was a destined sequel to The Resurrection of Jesus which was a destined sequel to The Crucifixion of Jesus.
The last spoken statement of Jesus while He was dying on the cross – “He said ‘it is finished’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30). Please note that Jesus did not said ‘I am finished’ but he said ‘It is finished’.
For us humans, we so often uttered that undesirable statement ‘I am finished’. So many things gone wrong in our lives and more often than not we have to admit as according to our sins and unwillingness to obey the will of God and also our lack of zeal and passion to love God, we do expect troubles ahead.
Every day we must learn to walk in the will of God. Jesus as a real man of God, having lived according to the will and purpose of God said ‘It is finished’.
From the moment Jesus dies on the cross He expected the next two sequels to fall into place as He trusted the Father to be faithful. From the day of His childhood when Jesus said – knew you not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49) – He had trusted the Father. Jesus’ acts of obedient are living examples and testimony for us to follow.
In these three events, The Crucifixion of Jesus, The Resurrection of Jesus and The Ascension of Christ we see a common theme – Jesus exercised unconditional faith and trust in the Father.
In this passage of the Ascension recorded by Luke we are reminded of various fundamental teachings of Christ and about Christ –
1. Proofs – ‘presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs’.
The life and ministry of Jesus Christ is backed-up with infallible proofs. Jesus Christ is not a myth or legend. The Roman histories have it in record the reality of the person Jesus Christ.
Even though the chief priests spread lies that the body of Jesus was stolen from the tomb, we have the witness of the Apostles and the Early Christians.
In the world history of publications, prints and books, the Bible and its contents and the message of the Gospel have the most circulations and demands continue to grow. It is the will of God that the words of our Lord shall be magnified and made available to every tongue and race.
We have infallible proof and evident that Jesus is the Messiah.
2. The Kingdom of God – ‘appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God’.
The kingdom of God is a key theme of Jesus’ preaching and ministry and this same kingdom of God involves Man’s relationship with God. We are reminded to keep our focus and priority in building good relationship to God and live with our fellow brethren as according to the will of God.
Every kingdom have its mandate and the will of our Father in heaven is that mandate for us. According to the will of God we are to share the blessing and holy relationship with our fellow believers as well and let such practices be a ‘light’ unto the non-believers.
That forty days Jesus was with the believers before the Ascension, ‘the kingdom of God’ was a key topic. Jesus was not discussing with them about ‘church growth’ or ‘evangelistic program’ or ‘membership campaign’. Thus in conducting Christian fellowship meetings in our current times we must bear in mind to follow the pattern and instructions of Jesus Christ and avoid falling into deceptions of mega-churches movement.
3. The Unknown – not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
There are things which God preferred we do not know about. Like the days of Adam and Eve when God say ‘do not’, we must learn to trust and believe that God have good intentions when He impose restrictions.
Like the example of Eve who disobeyed God and lost the blessing of living in Eden, those who attempted to explore ‘forbidden knowledge’ have generated much trouble. Being deceived themselves and misleading those who follow.
If we do remember well, every one of those people who tried to state a precise date about the return of Jesus have all gone wrong. Those who were misled inherited grieve and sorrows.
The irony of life is such that we have some much information about the person of Jesus Christ and the character of God made available to us we should spend more of our time learning the ways of God, but rather people still wants to know what we should not know.
When Jesus comes He comes. We should keep ourselves busy learning and preparing to live with God.
4. Help from the Holy Spirit – receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
Till then the disciples were still living in fear and weariness of death threats from the Jews who rejected Jesus. See how the disciples became bold and courageous in preaching the truth of Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit bear witness within our hearts we are beloved of our heavenly Father and we should not be ashamed of being identified as a believer in Christ. Who should be ashamed but false Christians?
The Holy Spirit encourages us to love God unconditionally. Thus Peter and John have no fear of death and persecution when they were enforced in unreasonable way by ‘rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law’ (Acts 4:5) to stop preaching Jesus.
These same ‘rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law’ were supposed to be agents of God as well as they were seated in the seat of Moses. But as they rejected Christ, they were rejected of the Holy Spirit.
For the Apostles and Early Christians who love God and were passionate for Jesus Christ they were filled and full of the Holy Spirit.
5. Be Witness – be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
We are encouraged to be witness as we wait for Jesus’ return and this is our common Christian duty.
We remember the old classic missionary prayer “Lord wherever you may lead I will follow”. Indeed the Gospel has been carried all over the world, round and round. In any places we are positioned we bear witness as well.
The message of Jesus Christ has to reach even deeper into every hearts and souls. For those who have never heard they need to hear. For those who heard they need to open their hearts. For those who are prepared to receive Jesus they must be prepared to have a living relationship with God. For those who believed we must continue to sow the words of God deeper and deeper into our hearts.
The deeper the words of God take root within our heart and soul we become stronger and stable in the Lord.
As we witness to those around us we witness to our own hearts as well. We all grow in the Lord together as a body of Christ. We are one in agreement with God our Father that Jesus is the Christ and salvation is of the Lord.
- He shall Return the Same Way – This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.
This is not just a promise that Jesus will return but that we should recognized the real Jesus when He returns. Don’t be misled and deceived by fake Jesus.
The world has seen enough fakes. We have a country like China that made copies and fakes of everything and anything they could possibly get their hands on, so much so that this nation have earned such renowned shenanigan comments‘ The only real things in China are fakes’!
We want the real Jesus. We should look for the real Jesus. There is only one real Jesus.
The same real Jesus is now enthroned in heaven with our Father. This same real Jesus now has a full time job interceding for us to ensure that we should walk with God all the way till we meet Him in person.
Some of us may die or pass away in person before the return of the Lord, in that way we may meet God earlier than expected. Either way we should keep our focus on the real Jesus.
As our Lord Jesus gave instructions to the Apostles and the Early Christians before the Ascension, let us continue in the same instructions as well as we wait for the return of the real Jesus Christ.
FOLLOW CHRIST TODAY