Pastor's Corner
Weekly Devotionals Right from the pastors desk
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Ref. Luke 24:44-53
Luke 24:51, where it says that Jesus "withdrew from his followers and was lifted up into heaven," is where many interpreters get stopped since it seems to imply that in order for the Ascension to make sense, we must accept the three-story reality of the Bible. This reminds me of the successful Soviet space traveler who said that since he didn't locate God "up there," all religion must be bogus. Our Ascension sermons will stutter along and have little effect on our listeners if we insist on operating within this paradigm. The only way this text seems to make sense is if we change our attention from picturing a flying Jesus to what these verses are actually saying about the relationship between Jesus and God. This suggests a different conception of heaven. Heaven is more of a human representation for God's residence than it is a physical location. In other words, the significance of Jesus now being with God encompasses the significance of the Ascension. When we declare that Jesus is "sitting at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19), what exactly are we saying?

The biblical passages that describe the Ascension can even be argued to be developing a new conception of God. The first thing the disciples did after Jesus was lifted up to heaven, according to Luke 24:52, was to adore him. These pious Jews who follow Christ are aware that only God ought to be revered. Clearly, the Trinity is strongly implied here. For our purposes, though, it means that it is now impossible to discuss God without mentioning Jesus. We must constantly view God through the lens of a crucified, risen, and living Christ. The majority of individuals, even Christians, seem to automatically choose a conception of God that is consistent with common sense.

In other words, it is believed that God is perfect in the sense that He is unconstrained by the constraints of space and time. God is eternal and omnipotent. God is majesty, supremacy, and eternity. Of course, one might find verses from the Bible to back up these assertions about God. They are not incorrect; rather, they are insufficient. In our chapter, the God that the disciples are currently worshiping is also a God who has experienced loneliness, betrayal, rejection, thirst, and even death. Jesus' ascent into heaven changes how we perceive God. We can no longer define God in a way that separates God from human experience entirely.

The ascended Jesus, who now occupies a position at God's right hand, depicts a God who is open to human interaction. When we turn to God in difficult or tempting circumstances, we are not addressing a distant divinity who is uninterested in our problems. In addition to consoling us by empathizing with our suffering, God tells us that our tribulations will not have the last word since the risen and ascended Christ is making intercession for us and nothing can ever be able to separate us from his love (Romans 8:34).
If all I am saying does not re energize you to work, I don't know what will!