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Word from Scotland

    by Sandy Shaw

Help Us Understand the Significance of the Ascension
Date Posted: May 11, 2020

I cannot imagine what it must have been like to see Jesus Christ go. These men were so different on that awesome occasion – they were able to take it in their stride.

We read the account of the Ascension in the opening section of ACTS and also in the concluding words of the Gospel of LUKE.

ACTS is the second book of a two part work by Gentile Luke. It is a history, illustrating the continuity of the work of God – presenting us with a unity of thought and purpose.

It is some six weeks after Passover - 40 days after God brought back Jesus Christ from the dead - and these have been traumatic weeks.

There have been various meetings with Jesus at various times in various settings - Jerusalem - Emmaus Road - by the Lakeside, when seven disciples tried to turn the clock back and return to the fishing.

Some had obviously thought - that was it!

But, once you have met Jesus Risen and Alive - and that is the only way we can know Him - once you KNOW Jesus is alive - and that HE has spoken to you and called you - you dare not question that.

These men may have had other questions but they KNOW, and KNEW - JESUS is alive.

Acts Chapter 1 verse 3 makes all that clear for us. During this period, Jesus great theme was The Kingdom of God. Jesus is the King - and these disciples are to be and become the leaders and teachers and servants in The Kingdom of God - like you and me today.

They were totally convinced. Are you convinced?

On one occasion Jesus spoke quite specifically to them. "Do not leave Jerusalem - wait for the gift My Father has promised - you have hard me speak about it - John baptised with water - in a few days, you will be baptised with The Holy Spirit.

Jesus is depending on these men. Do not leave the city. Do not run away.

Do not try to do what I have called you to do without the equipment. WAIT!

They listened and paid attention. It is so important to give heed to what Jesus has to say.

Are you really listening to what God is saying to you?

The Father had promised to empower these disciples with The Holy Spirit.

Without that essential power they would not be able to do anything useful or valuable in The Kingdom of God.

God is offering to men - power to preach - power to serve - power to heal - power to love with the Love of Jesus Christ.

They are not very sure what all this really means - what does it involve - what will happen? We have similar questions at times.

They think along political lines. "Are YOU going to give the kingdom back to Israel?"

Israel was under the power of Rome. They are wondering - is Jesus about to overthrow Rome - and set Israel free from Rome - and make us the political princes and rulers? They got it all wrong.

They were ‘nationalists’, and Jesus has to teach them not to be narrow in a nationalistic political way. He corrects them - so that they no longer hold a narrow small limited blinkered view.

How open are you to God correcting you, and perhaps guiding you in a different direction?

Jesus is teaching them - "Don't just be thinking about your own nation. Have a larger view of what God is doing in the world, and of how HE wants to use you.

Jesus is so gentle and tactful with these disciples who had been through such a traumatic crushing time. They too had to face various giants.

And, almost before they became disappointed or depressed - Jesus reassures them. You will receive power - but not political power - to set your country free from Rome.

"You will receive power, when The Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be MY WITNESSES. MARTYR is the word used - meaning to give TESTIMONY.

The witness of Christ, and to Christ, will extend.

The Church will expand – from Jerusalem to the ends of the world.

They did not know what was going to happen to them – neither do we at the time – but when we look back over the years we can see the hand of God in the decisions and choices and valleys and victories – and we can see them more clearly.

John took people and plunged them in the Jordan River. You are going to be plunged in the river of God. Then you will have the necessary power to convince people about the truth of what you know about ME, and produce the proof that I am Risen and Alive.

Witnesses give testimony to what is true - and keep to the facts.

This will spread out from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Jesus is making it clear that something vital and essential is going to happen to those ordinary disciples.

There is nothing special about these men. They are not sure what is about to happen nor what the consequences will be. All they know is that whatever happens will come from God, and HE only gives good gifts to His Children. It is going to mean that the news about Jesus Christ will soon be rippling out across the world.

These are the last words Jesus spoke.

A man's final words to those whom HE loves are important and significant.

Are you convinced that Jesus Christ is risen and alive?

They were - and so was Dr Luke.

The scene is now on the summit of The Mount of Olives - and Jesus begins to ascend. He just begins to go up and up. His Work on earth is over. Jesus is going home where He belonged. He has been away for 33 years.

He continues to rise - until a cloud receives Him - and the disciples continued looking upwards wondering what this is all about.

Two angels appear - and ask WHY? "This same Jesus who has taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven."

Now - He had left them - with only a Word of Promise.

They went back into Jerusalem.

We know they had to wait 10 days - with No Jesus and No Holy Spirit.

These ten days must have seen an eternity to these bewildered souls!

Why can this incident remain so much a mystery? It is unknown and not easy to grasp because it is seldom mentioned. Why?

Well - it happened on a Thursday. It is so strange and unusual.

We are glad when people come to us - but we can be sad when people go.

We are glad at His Arrival, but find it hard to handle the significance of His Departure.

Jesus departed two months after He died - and He did not die when He departed. He took His Body with Him.

Turn to the end of Luke’s Gospel – they returned with joy.

Jesus was now entering the Joy that was set before Him - the work of salvation was completely complete.

He finished the job He came to do - and the Father accepts the work - the sacrifice - and receives Him back.

“Our loving God – as we give thanks and praise for the birth and life and death and resurrection of Jesus – so we give thanks for the ascension and its significance – help us to share the whole truth from every part of Your Holy Word – Holy Spirit empower us and guide and lead – in Jesus Name. Amen.”

"Today's Little Lift" from Jim Bullington

Heir of the World (Romans 4:13)

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Biography Information:

Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!

Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.

Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.

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