Fairmeadow Community Church of The Nazarene
May 16, 2021
- Christ The Lord Is Risen Today (Easter Hymn)
- 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.What happens next?Jesus ministered. Jesus called his disciples to follow him. Jesus was arrested and sentenced to death as a threat to the empire. Jesus arose from the grave. Jesus appeared to his disciples.But what would happen next? How was life going to carry on, move forward? What did it all mean?Well Jesus begins to answer all these questions, but in ways the disciples really hadn’t imagined.It means so much to us that there is a consistency in God’s character. The same yesterday, today and forever. But that doesn’t mean life will always unfold like we think it will. It also doesn’t mean that we’ve already learned all there is to know about God. It depends on how long you’ve been on this journey and what you’ve been looking for from God.People could have probably been more clued in to what God was doing, what Jesus was doing and how it all fit into God’s long range plan. But people get caught up in the flowing details of life. So Jesus took the time. He took the disciples to the Scriptures. He gave them ears to hear and eyes to see God’s unfolding plan.45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”Jesus is the Messiah, the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises of God. And that unfolding would mean new developments. These new developments would lead to very good things. Power from on high to live in new ways.But before this could happen for the disciples something had to happen for Jesus. Something very specific that we often overlook when we think about Jesus coming to our world.How can we handle the future?We’ve been going through a gut-wrenching season of upheaval and change. We haven’t always handled it with grace. Now it looks like the end may be in sight. But this too will mean new things.We too should consider tarrying and waiting for power from on high. Let God lead, don’t just go stir crazy. Waiting is uncomfortable.Waiting until God leads is good. But sometimes it’s not about what we do. Many times it’s about what God does or what God is already doing.When we think about Jesus we make a very big deal about when he first came into our world. We call it the incarnation: the miracle of the word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Jesus sanctifying the human form and the human experience by his entering our world.We talk at length about his death. We spend a whole season on it. We talk about his resurrection! We are still in the season that celebrates his resurrection.We talk about his return which is yet to come. But we jump over this very important piece that helps it all fit together. This piece that helps us make sense of the here and now.Jesus AscendedTwo simple words. Let’s say them together. Jesus Ascended. BOOM! There it is. That’s what you need to remember when you can’t remember anything else. Jesus ascended.Jesus is not still in the grave. Amen? Jesus is not still doing post-resurrection appearances to his disciples. Things are different now.50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.Jesus ascended into heaven. His leaving was as glorious as his coming was humble. It’s a foretaste of what his return will be like.It’s one little detail we often forget. Jesus isn’t stuck in limbo. Jesus has ascended. Every enemy is being placed under his feet!Two more important words come to mind:Jesus Reigns!no temporary elected official or kingPaul reminds us of the full extent...15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.There it is. Jesus living, ascended, reigning, ruling and bringing everything together in Father’s timing.A longtime friend of mine had been struggling in his job. A grueling situation. Thankful to have employment but just an unpleasant work environment in several ways. Job security was also uncertain. Recently: boom opportunity opened up and he’s in a new job. The kind of job he’s wanted for a long time. I congratulated him recently.He said thanks. All in the Lord’s time, but I thought it should have happened a long time ago!Friends, it helps so much if we can trust God’s timing. It helps us to trust when we remember that Jesus has ascended.So you say your planet’s under attack from a bug you can barely see under a microscope, eh? You say some friends are failing in their health. You say gas prices are high, relationships are tougher than ever, your political leaders are disappointing and even your sports team can’t pull it together? I can relate.Come quickly, Lord Jesus. But in the meantime, Jesus has ascended. Jesus reigns. Above all and everybody else. Praise his holy name. Let’s pray...
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