Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Celebrating Ascension Day

This year we are doing something new at the church where I pastor. We are celebrating Ascension Day with a service on Thursday night. This day is 40 days after Easter — the day Christ ascended after his resurrection. 

I have been struck by the importance of the Ascension as we have worked our way through the gospel of John. John, more so than the other gospel accounts, highlights the divine nature of Christ. He begins the gospel by telling the reader that Jesus was with the Father in the beginning in his glory. Repeatedly throughout the book, Jesus tells the disciples that he is going back to where he came from when his mission is complete (Jn 6:62, 7:33, 8:21, 13:1, 20:17). This is of course exactly what happens! 

After the horrors of the crucifixion and the joy of the resurrection, Jesus ministers for 40 days, presumably helping the disciples assimilate and synthesize his teaching and ministry over the past 3 years. This is preparation for the launch of the church. Jesus has promised they would do “greater works” than he did. These greater works are not greater in quality but greater in extent. Jesus was largely rejected and by contrast Peter preaches and thousands repent. Through the spirit, gospel fruit comes in abundance. This is the Spirit that Jesus himself sends once he has ascended. (Jn 16.5-7) 

In our service tomorrow night, we will explore the vital link between the ascension of Christ and the mission of the church. We will practically consider what this means for us and some ways we can engage in the mission. If you are in the Jacksonville/Beaches area, we would love to have you join us!

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