The Ascension: A Neglected Essential

The Ascension is something I have heard precious little about in the preaching and teaching of the church.  Below is a masterful exposition of Luke 24:50-53 on the event and meaning of the ascension of the Lord Jesus.  Listen and enjoy!   [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/28406221 w=400&h=300]

A Neglected Essential from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

Here is an outline of the whole exposition:

  • The Ascension
    • Christ spent 40 days with His disciples before ascending answering their questions & teaching
    • The angels heralded His ascension just as they did His incarnation.
  • Descriptive analysis of the passage:
    • He led them out
    • He lift up His hands (and blessed them, perhaps with the Aaronic blessing)
    • He left them
      • He was taken up into heaven in a cloud.
      • He had told his disciples: I am going to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also.
      • Christ physically went and remains somewhere in the time-space universe.  That verse has to be held in the context of all the revelation of Scripture: Christ was Incarnated, died, buried, and rose again bodily.
      • The cloud here are not meant to make us think of the clouds of the sky but clouds in the Scriptures: The cloud that led the Israelites in the wilderness, the cloud on Sinai, the cloud that filled the Temple, the cloud on the mount of Transfiguration
      • He, as it were, ascended up into the folds of space (CS Lewis) – the realm of the 4th dimension. This would make a good discussion over coffee!
  • The Significance of the Ascension
    • The Ascension declares Mission Complete, the Work of Redemption is Finished.
    • The Ascension declares God’s mighty power.
    • The Ascension marked the return of Jesus to the Father, a return to the glory He had known before.
    • The Ascension inaugurated the giving of the Holy Spirit in a unique and unrepeatable way at Pentecost.
    • The Ascension guarantees our heavenly home.
  • What is Jesus doing now that He has ascended?
    • Jesus is now presiding over the universe.
    • Jesus is now ruling His church.
    • Jesus is now with us in our weaknesses.
    • Jesus is now interceding for us.
  • How His Disciples Reacted
    • They responded in adoration: “they worshipped him”
    • They responded in exultation: “returned to Jerusalem with great joy”
    • They resulted in preparation: “continually in the Temple”
      • Acts 1:8 – “wait until you be endued with with power from on high”
      • So the text leaves the disciples (in Luke 24:53) waiting, worshipping, and witnessing.
  • Conclusion: Isn’t this what we are doing?
    • We are waiting
    • We are worshipping
    • We are witnessing
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