Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 110

Ephesians 1:16-23

Luke 24:44-53

 

 

“The Ascension of our Lord Jesus”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

        Pentecost is just around the corner, the day that Holy Spirit will come and cloth the disciples with power from on high, yet it is not here. This was Jesus’ warning before he officially departed from His disciples, ascending into heaven, for His final words before he blessed His disciples and then ascended were, “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” When will this day of power be? And why are you leaving us? Many of the disciples may have been lost in their despair upon finding that their Rabbi was leaving them again. He had just died and they were wrought with pain upon seeing their Lord crucified and buried. Now He is leaving them again. They may glorify the fact that he is ascending into heaven, but none the least some may have also been saddened over the fact that Jesus was once again leaving them.

 

        What were they to do? Their minds were opened by Jesus to understanding Scripture, thus enlightening them to the reality that Christ had to suffer dead, rise after three days, and that this Christ is Jesus Himself. Jesus opened their minds to also understand that in Jesus’ name sanctification is possible. He revealed all this, then blessed them, and then… he left them… again. What were they, the disciples to do? Should they be happy or sad? They knew Jesus wasn’t going to Hell or Sheol, which is limbodic death for Jews, for they physically saw Jesus rise to heaven. Happy that Jesus is in heaven with His Father, or sad because Jesus wasn’t physically with them?

 

        Many of you may understand this feeling for many of you have lost loved ones who are dear to your hearts, loved ones who also loved the Lord. And upon losing your friend, spouse, brother, sister, parent, you get mixed feelings. Happy because you know they are in heaven, but sad because they are not with you. The happiness we feel is out of Christian selflessness, the sadness is because, one we are selfish, but also because we understand that death is horrendous. This is why we teach that upon death, through faith in Christ, you are not truly dead, but are truly alive for all eternity. Yet, these mixed feelings still exist. It is appropriate mourn, for a loss has been experienced. It is also appropriate to leap with joy, for we know the truth of what happens after death.

 

        Likewise, the disciples may have such mixed feelings, and the only thing they have to help guide their next action, are Jesus’ words of staying in Jerusalem and to be patient. Jesus gave them a promise, but he did not tell them when this promise would be fulfilled, only that it will be fulfilled, thus they must patiently wait. They knew not that Jesus was referring to Pentecost, a Jewish holiday which marked the 50th day of the Passover, and for us the 50th day of Easter, exactly seven weeks after the day we celebrate the rising of our Lord from Hell. The disciples did not know this, for they knew not if this wait was to be a day or fifty years. They had no reference, only a promise and a command for patience. So they waited and had faith in Jesus. They worshipped him faithfully in the temples and they did have great joy for they knew Jesus was in heaven.

 

        And once the Holy Spirit did bless them, their eyes were fully opened to a reality that we who have been blessed by the Holy Spirit through Baptism grew up knowing. Jesus is not gone. He is not far off. He never left them. He is here.

 

        Yes, Jesus is in heaven, but that does not make Him like a clockmaker God who makes a clock, winds it up, and then leaves. Jesus never left us. Why, neither has God the Father ever left us. If we believe that God the Father is indeed here and is in fact everywhere to include on that throne in Heaven, then Jesus who sits at the Father’s right hand side, and is God Himself, must also be here and everywhere. Jesus has never left us. In fact, He is even more present.

 

        And if we need physical proof that Jesus is here, for some are too dependent on their eyes and hears and nose and mouth and touch to believe in anything, then look no further than Communion. Did Jesus not tell us that the Bread and the Wine used in Communion is indeed His Body and Blood? Did He not speak through His servant Paul the words I will repeat during the blessing,

 

“In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me. Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)

 

Does Jesus lie? No, and before any one suggest He is talking metaphorically, read all of St John, chapter 6, for Jesus makes it quite clear he is not talking metaphorically but literally. So, does Jesus lie? Is He, is God, a liar? No. So let me say Jesus’ words again. This is my body. This is my body. This is my body.

 

        Jesus is not far off for we have proof here that not only is Christ with us, he is indeed physically with us, via the bread and the wine. He is here. But not just that, for not only is Jesus physically present through the Eucharist, because we physically consume the literal body and blood of Christ, then we know with sheer certainty that Jesus is in us, and we in Him. For through Communion, and each and every time we have communion, Jesus abides in us and we in Him. This is why it is encouraged to have Communion, as long as it is done properly and in the proper setting, as often as possible. To be honest, I’m jealous of the Roman Catholic practice of daily mass. Oh, Pastor Chris, your catholicism is showing, please hear me out. The reason I’m jealous is because, to those who do receive communion daily, they are daily receiving Christ in their bodies, they are daily receiving the sanctification and spiritual sustenance only possible through Communion daily, and they are reminded daily that Jesus is not far off but is in fact still here with us physically. That is why I’m jealous.

 

        Now what is the beauty of knowing that through Communion that we abide in Christ and He in us? What is today all about? Christ’s Ascension! And if Christ has Ascended then where is He? Is He in Hell? No. Is He in Sheol? No. Is He in Heaven? Most certainly! And if Christ who is in Heaven also abides in us, what does that mean when we breath our last breathe? No more will Christ go to Hell, and no more will Christ die, therefore we cannot carry Christ to Hell nor put Christ to death again. If we truly abide in Christ, and He in us, then when we die there is only one destination for us, and that is most certainly Heaven! That is the beauty of knowing that through Communion we abide in Christ and He in us.

 

        So just like how Jesus ascended into heaven, we who are Christians can have faith that through Him we too will rise into Heaven, to be with Him and all the Saints who are also in Him. So do not fret, but rejoice. For Christ will never die again, He is and will always be the Risen Lord, he has a place for you in Heaven, and though He is in Heaven, He is also still here.

 

Let us pray,

 

        Dear Heavenly Father, through the ascension of our Lord we know that your Son lives and will live forever as God the Son. We ask that though we may not see His face that we do not give into despair and forget that He is still present within Communion. And through Communion please invigorate us, sanctify us, and keep us in your grace, so that when we too leave this world, we, like your Son, will rise and be with you in Heaven. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 110

Ephesians 1:16-23

Luke 24:44-53

 

 

“The Ascension of our Lord Jesus”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

        Pentecost is just around the corner, the day that Holy Spirit will come and cloth the disciples with power from on high, yet it is not here. This was Jesus’ warning before he officially departed from His disciples, ascending into heaven, for His final words before he blessed His disciples and then ascended were, “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” When will this day of power be? And why are you leaving us? Many of the disciples may have been lost in their despair upon finding that their Rabbi was leaving them again. He had just died and they were wrought with pain upon seeing their Lord crucified and buried. Now He is leaving them again. They may glorify the fact that he is ascending into heaven, but none the least some may have also been saddened over the fact that Jesus was once again leaving them.

 

        What were they to do? Their minds were opened by Jesus to understanding Scripture, thus enlightening them to the reality that Christ had to suffer dead, rise after three days, and that this Christ is Jesus Himself. Jesus opened their minds to also understand that in Jesus’ name sanctification is possible. He revealed all this, then blessed them, and then… he left them… again. What were they, the disciples to do? Should they be happy or sad? They knew Jesus wasn’t going to Hell or Sheol, which is limbodic death for Jews, for they physically saw Jesus rise to heaven. Happy that Jesus is in heaven with His Father, or sad because Jesus wasn’t physically with them?

 

        Many of you may understand this feeling for many of you have lost loved ones who are dear to your hearts, loved ones who also loved the Lord. And upon losing your friend, spouse, brother, sister, parent, you get mixed feelings. Happy because you know they are in heaven, but sad because they are not with you. The happiness we feel is out of Christian selflessness, the sadness is because, one we are selfish, but also because we understand that death is horrendous. This is why we teach that upon death, through faith in Christ, you are not truly dead, but are truly alive for all eternity. Yet, these mixed feelings still exist. It is appropriate mourn, for a loss has been experienced. It is also appropriate to leap with joy, for we know the truth of what happens after death.

 

        Likewise, the disciples may have such mixed feelings, and the only thing they have to help guide their next action, are Jesus’ words of staying in Jerusalem and to be patient. Jesus gave them a promise, but he did not tell them when this promise would be fulfilled, only that it will be fulfilled, thus they must patiently wait. They knew not that Jesus was referring to Pentecost, a Jewish holiday which marked the 50th day of the Passover, and for us the 50th day of Easter, exactly seven weeks after the day we celebrate the rising of our Lord from Hell. The disciples did not know this, for they knew not if this wait was to be a day or fifty years. They had no reference, only a promise and a command for patience. So they waited and had faith in Jesus. They worshipped him faithfully in the temples and they did have great joy for they knew Jesus was in heaven.

 

        And once the Holy Spirit did bless them, their eyes were fully opened to a reality that we who have been blessed by the Holy Spirit through Baptism grew up knowing. Jesus is not gone. He is not far off. He never left them. He is here.

 

        Yes, Jesus is in heaven, but that does not make Him like a clockmaker God who makes a clock, winds it up, and then leaves. Jesus never left us. Why, neither has God the Father ever left us. If we believe that God the Father is indeed here and is in fact everywhere to include on that throne in Heaven, then Jesus who sits at the Father’s right hand side, and is God Himself, must also be here and everywhere. Jesus has never left us. In fact, He is even more present.

 

        And if we need physical proof that Jesus is here, for some are too dependent on their eyes and hears and nose and mouth and touch to believe in anything, then look no further than Communion. Did Jesus not tell us that the Bread and the Wine used in Communion is indeed His Body and Blood? Did He not speak through His servant Paul the words I will repeat during the blessing,

 

“In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me. Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)

 

Does Jesus lie? No, and before any one suggest He is talking metaphorically, read all of St John, chapter 6, for Jesus makes it quite clear he is not talking metaphorically but literally. So, does Jesus lie? Is He, is God, a liar? No. So let me say Jesus’ words again. This is my body. This is my body. This is my body.

 

        Jesus is not far off for we have proof here that not only is Christ with us, he is indeed physically with us, via the bread and the wine. He is here. But not just that, for not only is Jesus physically present through the Eucharist, because we physically consume the literal body and blood of Christ, then we know with sheer certainty that Jesus is in us, and we in Him. For through Communion, and each and every time we have communion, Jesus abides in us and we in Him. This is why it is encouraged to have Communion, as long as it is done properly and in the proper setting, as often as possible. To be honest, I’m jealous of the Roman Catholic practice of daily mass. Oh, Pastor Chris, your catholicism is showing, please hear me out. The reason I’m jealous is because, to those who do receive communion daily, they are daily receiving Christ in their bodies, they are daily receiving the sanctification and spiritual sustenance only possible through Communion daily, and they are reminded daily that Jesus is not far off but is in fact still here with us physically. That is why I’m jealous.

 

        Now what is the beauty of knowing that through Communion that we abide in Christ and He in us? What is today all about? Christ’s Ascension! And if Christ has Ascended then where is He? Is He in Hell? No. Is He in Sheol? No. Is He in Heaven? Most certainly! And if Christ who is in Heaven also abides in us, what does that mean when we breath our last breathe? No more will Christ go to Hell, and no more will Christ die, therefore we cannot carry Christ to Hell nor put Christ to death again. If we truly abide in Christ, and He in us, then when we die there is only one destination for us, and that is most certainly Heaven! That is the beauty of knowing that through Communion we abide in Christ and He in us.

 

        So just like how Jesus ascended into heaven, we who are Christians can have faith that through Him we too will rise into Heaven, to be with Him and all the Saints who are also in Him. So do not fret, but rejoice. For Christ will never die again, He is and will always be the Risen Lord, he has a place for you in Heaven, and though He is in Heaven, He is also still here.

 

Let us pray,

 

        Dear Heavenly Father, through the ascension of our Lord we know that your Son lives and will live forever as God the Son. We ask that though we may not see His face that we do not give into despair and forget that He is still present within Communion. And through Communion please invigorate us, sanctify us, and keep us in your grace, so that when we too leave this world, we, like your Son, will rise and be with you in Heaven. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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