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The Ascension (Part 2 of 3)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
April 13, 2021 4:00 am

The Ascension (Part 2 of 3)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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April 13, 2021 4:00 am

When Jesus fulfilled His earthly mission, He left His followers to return to His Father. The disciples’ commission, though, was just beginning. How did they react to Christ’s departure? Find out when you join us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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After Jesus resurrection from the dead was time for him to return to his father in heaven. His mission on earth had come to an end, but for his followers. Their mission was just beginning today on Truth for Life. Alastair beg examines their unexpected reaction to Jesus departure. We continue in the gospel of Luke in chapter 24, but will begin today in Luke chapter 9 chapter 9 in the record of the Transfiguration of Jesus to Peter and James and John with him and he went up to the mountain to pray and in the context of that verse 32 men, Moses and Elijah appeared in glorious splendor and they were talking with Jesus and wanted to talk about. While he spoke about his departure which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem, and in verse 51, Luke follows up with this notion and he describes the timeline in relationship to his ascension.

Luke 951 as the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem and doesn't say at the time approached for him to die. Although it may well have said that and it says that in other places, but in this context. Luke says is the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven. That's ultimately what he's doing. He is going back to the father and to glory. Everything else will take place in process. Until then I did John chapter 20, when Mary Magdalene meets Jesus in the garden post-resurrection and falls at his feet and grabs him Jesus.

You remember says Mary don't hang onto me like that.

I have not yet ascended to my father I'm not staying here. I'm in a transition of the moment, but I am moving forward. Now the verbs were helpful to me and just setting the picture clearly in my mind. Verse 50.

The verb to lead and when he had led them out. No story of their journey had been about Jesus as their leader.

He had come to them and said, follow me, and they had begun to follow him and hear the very end of it all, there still following. He sets out before them. He is in every sense. Their leader, and it surely was very meaningful to them that their final view of their beloved master is a picture of him with his hands raised in blessing upon you see there's another reason that without the transition that would not of been the final view, it wouldn't of been the final view for Mary. It wouldn't be in the final view for Peter. It would have been the final view for Thomas.

What a gracious Savior. What a wonderful Lord we have a lots to lift his hands up in blessing upon his own says but I bless you with my love and with my life and with my power. And with my will. He stood with his hands raised in blessing and you will notice he leads them out. He lifts his hands and then he leaves them. Luke tells us, with an eye for detail that while he was still blessing them.

He left so there very final picture of him, his posture before them. Is this wonderful picture God loves to bless. As you know, Jesus loves to bless us. Jesus is far more willing to bless is than we are to even take the time to ask him to bless us.

He loves to do so that the picture you have of Christ with his hands raised in blessing on your life. You may, you should know. Isn't it wonderful that he leaves in such a decisive and defining way if it all just been going away from them dissipate and they wouldn't have known. So Jesus very decisively and very wonderfully leaves them in no doubt that he is at the end.

He's at the end. He's at the beginning. It is the end of the beginning is the beginning of the end it's the end of all that Jesus had begun to do and teach, as Luke says in his second volume now the responsibility of teaching. Now the responsibility of proclaiming the kingdom of God is going to fall to his followers as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. It's now over to them to take the news of repentance and faith to all the nations in there to begin this evangelism program as we saw last time.

Beginning in Jerusalem, but he wants his disciples to understand, they will no longer be able to see him and talk with him as before and are about to discover that what he had told him previously about how good this was going to be that he was true when and what he said. Mary said in John 16. I'm going to go away from you, and when I go the father will send the counselor the comforter, the third person of this, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit will, and he will abide with you forever and is essentially it while he was blessing.

Then he left them and was taken up into heaven, there you have the ascension in a sentence I say to you again that it is an ongoing matter of wonder to me that in the most pivotal points in Christianity, the Scriptures are so cryptic.

There is no elaboration.

For example, the birth of Jesus. What we have a sentence and she brought forth her firstborn son and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the that's the incarnation, the incarnation that God became a fetus that the creator of the universe, meaning himself to our humanity that he walked into our line and into our experience is not covered with some great 47 page scientific journal. Some great theological insight is simply says and she brought forth her son. He was born when you get to the crucifixion you don't have an hour and 1/2 on the sufferings of Christ, you have a sentence and there they crucified him between two thieves and you come to the ascension and you have a sentence and he was taken up into there must be something to this notion that we walk by faith and not by sight.

Do you think you see, nobody is going to be argued into the incarnation.

If you here today expecting some slick argument that will convince you of the resurrected Christ.

I have long since run out of slick argument. If you demand from me or from others. Some explication of the ascension that will appeal to your intellect and draw you into faith. I can only tell you it's not going to have but if you will humble your heart and mind before the living God, the Spirit of God will bring the word of God, only to your heart and take the veil from your eyes and convince you that these simple sentences are pivotal not only for life but for dad and for all of eternity ever. There's a 10-year-old boy here and he's not happy with that. No, I think I think bags dodging. He says to his mother. I want to know what happened in the ascension. What happened is Jesus, the first space traveler was a like Cape Canaveral, Cape Kennedy is that how it went well. God's power was certainly as much of work in the taking of Jesus in the ascension, as it was a work in the resurrection, and it does say that he was taken up in a cloud hid him from their sight, so we know that Jesus was going up in the world right we talk about people going up in the world only views on phraseology or seniority is going up in the world used to be on the fourth floor and I was on the seventh floor has a different key and his own parking space he's going in the world while in a very realistic sense, that is what's happening here Jesus is going up in the world he for our sakes had humiliated himself and was born as a baby didn't count. Brooke didn't count equality with God something to be grasped, made himself of no reputation taken the form of a servant made in the likeness of man humbled himself unto death, even death on a cross how he's going up in the world. Therefore, God highly exalted him, said come on now, son, our peer the father brings him home advancing him, restoring him to his Majesty and to a dignity that he knew the father in the spirit before time began. Jim Packer in an uncharacteristically down.

They are kind of illustration says it is as if having traveled successfully in the firm's interest. The sun was now recalled to headquarters to become the CEO's and approximation to the idea what's happening here while the sun has traveled on the father's business completed the task that he's been given and now he's coming back to heaven. It is going to be the father's right hand man. The father's right hand man is not over till that he sits as God's right hand, till all his foes submit and bow to his command fall beneath his feet. Where is Jesus today.

Now for my 10-year-old inquirer now say just this is very important that when the Bible doesn't explain things that we don't allow our imaginations to go crazy because we can imagine all kinds of stuff that isn't worthy of our thoughts and I'm pretty sure that if we think of Jesus as the first space traveler zoom the ring zooming light years away from eyes were were probably got it wrong probably invite.

I think if we think of eternity is way up there and out there in in in sort of Platonic terms in spatial terms. I would probably got it wrong as well.

I think CS Lewis is probably closer to it when he thinks in terms of the sun being with drawn through a folding space for them to be read books about the fourth I mentioned that's closer to as we live in three dimensions. Jesus has made nothing really, he has conquered all the dimensions of space. He has been complete. He is liberated from any limitation that is a test that attaches to those three dimensions. Even in his resurrection appearances and so is a nice idea for me to think of eternity, not as being light years away out there somewhere that I have to go after I die. But actually I'm just going to pass through a very through a screen that I cannot see that takes me from time into eternity the same way that an actor when he takes his bow and then when you look up. He moved and it's as though he disappeared into the folds of a curtain, but he didn't. He actually disappeared in between two cartons when we think of the ascension of Jesus.

However, we try and grapple with that. We dare not miss the significant point, namely that we are now faced with the absence of his physical presence, but we now enjoy the availability of his spiritual presence, as do all who call on him everywhere. Finally the word reaction transition ascension reaction. We've grown used to the reaction of these people by now everyone deserted him and fled. That was a reaction to the arrest of Jesus didn't believe the women because their word seemed to them like nonsense that was their reaction to the story that it comes from the empty tomb. They were startled and frightened. That was their reaction to the appearance of Jesus in the room beside them and all of those prior responses make their reaction here all the more striking, what is their reaction to his departure number one worship while he was blessing them. He left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him. Then they worshiped then you as we know that worship is written is June 2 God alone to worship anyone or anything other than God is idolatry and it never before been in this final departing moment the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle all come together for these followers and they say we worship him. I like to think that they wrote of course there was clearly they didn't. As they stood there and as Jesus was taken from them. Someone said he is Lord and intentionally somebody sandbag is Lord and someone said he is risen from the dead and then together they said and he is Lord and someone said, every knee will be someone said, and every tongue confidence and then together they said that Jesus Christ is Lord, you see their reaction was not bewilderment anymore.

The reaction was not chin down the reaction was worship. Wash that is significant link get to worship in the same way that the leper got to worship. 1/10. Admittedly, when he saw that he was healed.

Praise God returned to Jesus and worship. Worship.

What else did they do they praise him.

Verse 53. There continue in the Temple praising God, thanking him for what he's done. Adoring him for the wonder of his person. Worship marks them. Praise marks them. Obedience marks them. They returned to Jerusalem.

That was an act of obedience. Jesus and I want you to make sure that you stay in Jerusalem until you receive the promise of the father so said goodbye to panic, said goodbye to bewilderment. They have remembered what Jesus told him to do, and they're going to do it. The reaction is worship praise obedience and joy. Actually, there's an adjective there at the end of verse 52 great joy, not the bewilderment of joy that is mentioned in verse 41, while they still do not believe it because of joy and amazement that strange emotional reaction. I know this was great joy. Before I just fold us up. Let's take those for identifying features of the reaction and take them to ourselves as both a challenge and as an example, worship, praise, obedience and joy were about to go back into the routine of our lives, we can reflect on the last week of our lives peculiar circumstances that came our way encounters that we had with individuals ways in which we reacted to different things, some of which were hard for us and some did not appeal to how much of how much of last week was marked in my life by worship praise obedience and joy. Okay, forget last week.

This is the first day of the week fresh grace clean page new day only by grace, can we enter only by grace, can we stand be dreadful if the message was now go out and try and muster up some worship will you and some joy and praise and obedience go on, do your best. Have a great week, but assorted testimony that would be, but Christ is all our worship. He is all our joy. He is all our obedience and he is all our praise and we are accepted in him.

The father accepts all his worship and joy and obedience and praise on our behalf, and in light of his gracious work within us, then by his enabling would follow his example and finally I think that Luke in this final little section fulfills in a masterful way. His objective that he set out in writing is gospel. He said I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning it seemed good to me to write an orderly account for you so that you might know the certainty of the things that you have been taught and they stayed continually at the temple worshiped him and they returned to Jerusalem. This is just silly on my part, but you forgive it to anyone you I imagine him dictating this and he says that his amanuensis he says now let's just let's just write these final few verses here I write this, they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with joy the person's writings is when you finish that said no said not only that right, they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem. Great joy. So this averages okay great joy in his wife because when the secretary had written the earlier part of the account and the Angels appear and they told the story good news of great joy that will be for all the people and the gospel begins in the temple and ends in the temple go back to chapters 1 and two and there's a whole crowd of people there and they are anticipating the event all this, Lord and Savior and King then living in a hole on the advent of the Savior and the angel has brought to them this good news of great joy in here. It ends with great joy. As a faithful wait for the empowering of the Holy Spirit and ultimately for the return of the King and while they wait for the return of the King begin about the business of repentance and forgiveness of sins being preached in his name to all the nations at the bottom of the page. We ought to write there to be continued and go over to the acts of the apostles and go to the land of ice and rain in the bottom of that.

To be continued as well.

To be continued in Cleveland, Ohio with a story to tell to the nations that will turn their hearts to the right a story of truth and gladness story of love and light for the darkness will turn to the dawning and the dawning to noonday bright in Christ's great kingdom will come on earth kingdom of love and light, where is Jesus just send he's came. What's he doing getting your room ready, pleading your case. Okay then chins up chins are big with the great reminder that we can remain encouraged because we have an ascended King. This is Truth for Life. Alastair will close today's program with prayer so please keep listening the early disciples were witnesses to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. It gave them hope for their own future resurrection. This is something that all of us who are in Christ can look forward to what is our future resurrection mean for us now. Let's the topic of a book or mentioning called alive how the resurrection of Christ changes everything. The author of this book explains how our confidence in the resurrection of Jesus enables us to face death without fear and live each day with the hope of eternal life. Now if you find yourself questioning the truth of the resurrection this book alive walks through all of the credible evidence you will gain certainty that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead, that he is now in heaven preparing a place for all who believe. When you read the book alive, you'll learn what the resurrection means for you as you consider the reality of eternity, request your copy of the book alive. When you give a gift of any amount. Just click the image you see on the app or call 888-588-7884.

You often hear me mention the truth for like mobile app if you're not listening to the daily program through the app today I want to encourage you to check it out. The app is free downloaded to your smart phone or your tablet gives you access to Alistair's complete teaching library to find it when you search Truth for Life in your app store now hears Alastair to close our program with prayer father forgive us for allowing our eyes to run with the gloomy first affirmatively skirted around with the fearfulness they look over their shoulder, enable eyes by your word and spirit to lift our eyes and look up because we have in the Lord Jesus Christ and ascended King and I make a difference.

We pray in the way we go about the routine of our lives for his namesake amen about the pain.

Hope you can join us tomorrow for the final message in her series. The gospel according to Luke will discover how Jesus physical absence on earth assures us of his spiritual presence Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life for the morning is for living

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