Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Ascension of Joy
Luke 24:50-53

Shane Thomas
Detroit Mar Thoma Church

52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
 
Today, Forty days after Christ rose from the grave, we celebrate His Ascension.
In this passage, we see Christ’s last moments on earth with His disciples. Imagine spending every moment for approximately three and a half years with Jesus- eating, praying, preaching, and learning His ways. The journey has been so intimate that Jesus considered His disciples as His brothers, seen in Matthew 28:10.

Here, in the last few moments, Jesus makes a personal prayer for them and blesses them before He ascends- however the disciples are not in sadness or mourning.
In verse 52, we see that the disciples “worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy”.  Through their ministry with Jesus, they see something far more than His departure- they see peace in the promises made by Him.  In John 14, He comforts His disciples that He “will go back to His Father and that He will prepare a place and return for them.” He assures them that He will send to them an advocate to be with them forever- and this is the Holy Spirit. Until then, these disciples are to spend their lives preaching and proclaiming the Good News, waiting for the moment Jesus comes back for them.
It is important to realize that all these promises could only be made possible through Jesus’ ultimate act on this earth. In Hebrews 10:8-12, the author makes a vivid description of the sacrifices that had to be made by the Israelites in the Old Testament times. This had to be done so that the Wrath of God for their sins would be appeased- yet not necessarily taken away. However, in the death of Jesus Christ, a Holy and Blameless God who became human for our sake, became our defining bridge between a perfect, Holy Father and a sinful creation. It is in His ascension where His Perfect Plan was made complete, and it is through faith in this, we find joy and rest as the disciples did.

But too often, we lose focus, and become caught up in the mundane track of the world. Focused on the next big project, goals or tasks that need to be done, or maybe just caught up with our own seasons of life where the promises Jesus made to us can be forgotten with other “promises” made to us. The path of Christianity is a Daily Renewal of the mind, and the moments when our peace is disrupted by the world, we have re-prioritized the Ultimate Plans God has in store for us with the plans we want God to have in us.
Are we living our life at this moment in joy and peace, just as the disciples did?
Is the Joy that we experience because of faith in the Promises of our Savior?

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the Gift of Your Son. It is by His Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension that we are called Your own.We love You and Thank You, for everything that You are, that have, and will do for us. We Pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“Hope in a glorious future. The ascended Lord will return as judge and king. He will abolish injustice, end suffering, and destroy death and set up His kingdom of truth, righteousness and love. Best of all, we will be with our king forever.” – Brian Tabb