Sermon Follow Up- Week 46, 2021
As we close our time in this most wonderful gospel account, we come to the ascension of Jesus and see not sadness in the disiple's hearts, but joy and hope and certainty. What is it that created such joy? Such hope? Is it a joy and hope that we can experience today?
“And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” (Luke 24:50–53 ESV)
King Jesus is the good news of great certainty and the source of great joy now and forevermore for all who believe on him.
What creates such joy in the hearts of the disciples?
SUBPOINTS AND REFLECTIONS
1. The Disciple's Finally Understand
They finally understood what Jesus was saying to them. They finally understood God's purposes. They finally understood Jesus’ words about His death, resurrection, and exaltation. They understood what God was doing — that He had answered the prayers of Elizabeth and Zacharias and Simeon and Anna and Mary. God had done what the angels had proclaimed in song. And so they were filled with great joy. They believed and it gave them joy. Finally knowing, finally understanding the plan of God to redeem a people for himself to dwell with forever through the perfect gift of his Son just literally filled them with joy. And that joy is based on the utter hope they now feel.
- Is your life filled with this joy? How might the joy you experience reflect in some fashion how much you truly understand the purposes of God through Jesus?
2. The Disciples are given hope
Once downcast and hopeless…now entirely filled with hope. When you are sure of something…you have hope – not wishful thinking. Certain hope. In fact, the author of Hebrews calls it faith… “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,… (Hebrews 11:1 ESV). Faith, far from being blind trust, is actually the assurance, the certainty of things hoped for…things like salvation. Not only did the disciples have joy…they were given hope.
Hope on account of the ascension of Jesus... (verse 51). The ascension of Jesus is a ground of hope not only for the disciples who are there on that mountain but for all believers from then to you and I today.
The ascension gives us a picture of Jesus’ Enthronement
The disciples are seeing from the ground, Jesus going into the clouds to his enthronement on the other side of the clouds. Jesus came to earth as a helpless little baby in a lowly stable but we all will one day see him as the Lord of all, high and exalted as the King of kings, the Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Redeemer, and friend. That’s how we’ll see him, with thousands of angels around him, worshipping him. For the disciples, this enthronement is what they are seeing take place in that moment…and it filled them with hope and joy.
The ascension tells us that Jesus’ work has been accepted.
It's the Father's vindication of Jesus Christ and it shows that He has accepted Jesus’ work on our behalf. The Father has called Jesus to be with Him at His throne, and we who trust in Him as He is offered in the Gospel will go to be with Him at the right hand, and the ascension proves that. So hopeful. Another reason the disciples are filled with hope and joy.
The ascension begins Jesus’ work of going to prepare a place for us
Where is Jesus going to? He is going to the right hand of the Father. To do what? To begin to prepare a place for you. A place that is beyond imagination. This world is beautiful isn’t it? But it’s a world that is under a curse. Beauty is tainted by storms, fires, and any number of devastations. But the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us is a place that will be beauty untold with nothing to taint it. A new heavens, a new earth without the taint of sin and sorrow, sickness and death. A place where peace will finally be known in full, where
“… the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” … I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:3–7 ESV)
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:3–5 ESV)
And this place that is right now, this moment, being prepared for us began when he left in this moment of our text - this gives hope.
The ascension of Jesus enables Him to pour out the Holy Spirit.
It was on that specific day in Acts 2 (Pentecost) that the Spirit is poured out on the church. And what that meant on that day wasn’t simply that the Spirit would empower the disciples for ministry, but more foundationally that Jesus was truly sitting on his throne, and fulfilling his promise to send the promise of the Father, power from on high. We can’t see him on the throne, but we can know that he is at the right hand of the Father in that he has poured out his Spirit and he continues to do so. He does so to empower us for ministry. He does so for the common good of the church through gifts of the Spirit. He does so that we may know the Truth and the truth will set us free. And he does so, so that though absent from us in one way, he would actually be nearer to us in another. And his presence brings hope...and joy.
- Have you ever considered the reason the ascension is so important for a Christian's hope and joy? Take time to listen to the sermons below if you get a chance to help you grow here.
3. The Disciples are blessed by Jesus
As the familiar Christmas hymn states: he comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found. He blesses his disciples and he blesses us that we would be filled with joy and hope amid the sometimes dry and difficult days of life, knowing that Jesus is alive and reigning, that his word is true and entirely trustworthy, and that we have the promise of the Father, the Spirit of power to strengthen us to know that he is with us, ruling, reigning, interceding for us, preparing an eternal home for us, and will either welcome us to himself when we close our eyes in death, or return on the clouds where all will see and every tongue will finally confess that which has always been true…Jesus is Lord, Ruler, Master, King, Savior, Redeemer, and Friend.
How does being blessed by Jesus affect you? The King of kings...blessing...you...personally. Wow. Take that in and ponder it.
- Consider the ascension by watching/listening to these two sermons from a few years back.
The Ascension: Our Great High Priest
The Ascension: Our Great King
Songs to Encourage