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Jesus Christ and the Ascension

Jesus Christ and the Ascension

Start by reading Acts 2:33-36

This passage is the conclusion to Peter's sermon at Pentecost. Just prior to his sermon, Peter and other believers were gathering together when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in tongues. Peter turned to the crowds and began to explain what they were seeing and hearing. To summarize, he says to them, "This is what has been prophesied in the Old Testament, that the Holy Spirit would come! The Jesus whom you crucified and killed, this Jesus God raised up, and we are all eyewitnesses to these events" (Acts 2:22-32).

As Peter concludes his sermon, he answers a final question: what happened as Jesus left the earth? He presents two important realities:

First, Jesus was exalted at the right hand of God. In the previous chapter Luke (the author of Acts) describes the ascension of Christ (Acts 1:6-11). In his final words, Jesus leaves his disciples with the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Then, he is lifted up into the clouds before their very eyes. Flash forward to Peter's sermon in chapter 2, we learn that Jesus did not merely float up into an ethereal realm, but he ascended to sit on the right hand of God. In the ancient world and throughout the Bible, the right hand is often associated with greatness, authority, and divinity (Ex 15:6, Ps 98:1, Ps 118:16). In verse 34, Peter brings up a passage in which King David says, "The Lord says to my Lord, sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool." (Psalm 110:1). Who was the Psalmist referring to? David surely did not ascend into the heavens — this was a prophecy about the Christ! God the Father says to God the Son, "Sit at my right hand." Jesus entered the earth in humility but left in exaltation. From that position of authority, he is ruling and reigning to this day.

Second, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit who would indwell us. We often take this for granted, but what a gift it is that after God the Son left the earth, he did not leave us alone! If you are born again, God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, lives inside of you. The Spirit convicts us of sin (John 16:8), guides us into truth (John 16:13), and empowers us to proclaim the good news to a dying world (Acts 1:8).

So what does this mean for us?

First, be a witness to the resurrected and exalted Jesus. This was His final command to us before he ascended. We already have the Holy Spirit to make us bold ambassadors of the gospel, starting with our very own city and beyond.

Second, live with a resurrection mindset. Our resurrected Lord will ultimately put all things in subjection under his feet, and the Apostle Paul says that the final enemy to be subjected is death itself (1 Corinthians 15:25-26)! In the gospel, we have hope that we too will one day be resurrected with Christ. We live with anticipation and longing, knowing that Jesus is sitting high and exalted at the right hand of the Father and that he will one day return and destroy death once and for all. In the famous words of C.T. Studd, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."

As we look forward to celebrating Easter together at Doxa, let's meditate on these truths and fix our eyes on our resurrected and exalted Savior. 

Eddie Kaiger - Pastoral Intern

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