A time for……..moving onwards and upwards
Sermon date: 2nd June
Reading: Luke 24 v. 44-53
Do you feel we sometimes like to cling on to the unchanging, in a fast-moving world where nothing seems to be the same from one day to the next?
What things keep changing and moving on in your life? How do you feel about it?
Please read together Luke 24 v. 44 - 53
Today we are exploring the end of Jesus time on earth when he moved onwards and upwards to return to heaven so that the Holy Spirit of God would come to be with his people. This was to be a huge change for the disciples, and they needed reassurance that he was and is the Messiah – the Son of God, so that they could trust in Him.
In Luke 24 v. 44 we read
“He said to them, this is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms.
These books are the three parts of the Hebrew Old Testament. Christ (the Messiah) was foretold in the whole of the Old Testament. Jesus was and is the Christ.
Having lived, died and risen, Jesus was not going to remain on earth in a human body. If he did, he would be limited by that body. He would come again in Spirit, to be with his people everywhere. Jesus was going to return to heaven.
Deuteronomy 30 v. 12 “who will ascend to get it?”
Isaiah 14 v. 13-14 “I will ascend into heaven…..
Genesis 28 v. 12 “and the angels of God were ascending and descending…”
In Biblical times people thought that they were “down” on earth and God was “up” in heaven. They used this kind of language to explain the relative positions and also the relative importance of people and of God.
Elijah was “taken up into heaven” to show how much value God placed on him and his life. He did not die but was “taken”. In 2 Kings 2 v. 11 it tells us that Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind and Elisha saw him no more. Elijah however did not return as Christ did, he simply was seen no more and there was no body to be buried.
Q.1 What is your understanding of heaven?
Q.2 In our space exploration age – do we think God is “up there?”
Q.3 Is this image of “up and down” helpful in today’s society?
Q.4 Who were the witnesses to Christ’s ascension and what did it do for them?
Read Luke 24 v. 44-53
Jesus refers to “What my father has promised” in Joel 2 v. 28-29 and this was fulfilled in Acts 2 v. 4. The Holy Spirit came upon the people and they prophesied and knew God personally.
Q.5 What effect did the ascension have on those who were there?
They rejoiced and stayed continually at the temple praising God.
Q.6 Can we too receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Q.7 As the world moves on and life changes – is this a scary prospect or are we comforted by the facts about Jesus?
Can we today try to find ways of continuing on the Christian Journey, of moving onwards and upwards towards the goal of Knowing God personally?
God does not change – he is for ever trustworthy and the same and yet Christ moved on in order to return to God and then send the Holy Spirit to us. This was always his plan and we can trust in Him and rely on Him whatever life throws at us.
Think about what changes you are facing and ask God to be with you while they happen and in your life afterwards.
Thank you, Father, for your never changing love for us
A Collect for Ascension Day.
O Almighty God,
whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things:
Mercifully give us faith to perceive that,
according to his promise,
he abides with his Church on earth,
even to the end of the ages;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Book of Divine Worship
Jane Hiley, 28/05/2019