google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Glimpses 25

Glimpses 25

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King Ascends and a Final Command!

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G'day and welcome to Partake! We are now on day 25 of our series "Glimpses", looking at the story of the Bible in 30 days - from the time of creation through to the time of the fullness of redemption! Jesus has died, just as he said he would. And what's more, He rose again from the dead, again, just as he said he would.  Appearing to both individuals and groups of people, at various times of the day, engaging in conversations and even eating! Today we look at what happened next!

Reading Matthew 28v16-20 - Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Jesus' resurrection is the catalyst for the mission of the church, beginning with the disciples and throughout history. Jesus Christ was the fulfilment of the Old Testament covenants we looked at! His mission to earth is coming to an end and shortly He will be returning to the right hand of the Father. Before He does so though, He has some more words to say to His disciples.

King's Authority

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus' authority is a major theme. Where Matthew records Jesus doing miracles, this is to highlight Jesus authority in action and not just merely in words. Matthew records Jesus' authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9v6) and he imparted authority to his disciples for a short time when they went on a mission in Matthew 10. Jesus has authority (Matthew 28v18) over all things, all people, all circumstances and happenings. Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings, whether angels or demons. Jesus has authority over all nations, ideologies, religions, governments and rulers. Jesus has authority over all earthly and spiritual authorities. Jesus has the authority over sexuality and personality. Jesus has the authority over all things! This means regardless of what ever the disciples encounter, Jesus is in control. Therefore, his disciples were to obey him without fear of retribution from those who would seek to harm us. It means obeying him regardless of the circumstances. It would be a great comfort to know, that he is in control of everything!! Through his death on the cross and his rising from the dead, Jesus has conquered all enemies. Now sometimes authority is confused with authoritarian. Authoritarian means severe, rigidity and a dictator. None of these applies to Jesus. His disciples, should choose to exercise free will to obey him and live a life worthy of him.

King's Last Command - You Go

If Jesus had not risen from the dead, then the disciples would not have had a story to tell. But Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, and the early church exploded numerically as the twelve disciples exercised Jesus' authority and His power. We read about the growth of the early church in the Book of Acts and more of that to come later in the series.

Ever since Genesis 3 and the fall of man, God has been on a mission to bring and call people back to himself. We saw that mission in this series through the covenants made between God and humanity. That was the purpose of the nation of Israel, to be a light to all nations of the goodness and glory of God! That was purpose when God, who is outside of time and space, entered human history taking on human flesh and restricted himself in a human body as the man we know as Jesus Christ. Jesus' whole mission was one of calling people back to life in God.  Now Jesus is leaving his disciples once more. Jesus has died and come back to life again, thereby defeating death. But he now tells his disciples he is leaving to return to the Father and the job is up to them to spread this good news about the kingdom of God, he has initiated! He tells them to make other disciples, to baptize them just as they were baptized and teach those people what Jesus had taught them himself! But how were they to do this?

King Ascends

Reading Acts 1v3-11 During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the disciples from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.  Once when Jesus was eating with his disciples, he commanded them, "Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with] water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

So when the disciples were with Jesus, they kept asking him, "Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?"

He replied, "The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!"

Mark 16:14-19, Luke 24:50-51 and Acts 1v1-12, we read about Jesus physically ascending into the heavens.  He is returning, as He said he would do, to the right hand of the Father.  During their last discussion with Jesus, the disciples were still expecting him to lead a revolution against the Romans (Acts 1v6).  Despite all Jesus had said to them in the previous 3 years, they still did not understand that Jesus had come to lead a spiritual kingdom and not a political kingdom.  Hence He tells them to go back to Jerusalem, with for the Holy Spirit and then go tell others the Good News about Him!  Then Jesus ascends into the sky! Some doubt the authenticity of this account by Luke. But what else could have happened? No other alternative is viable, particularly given what Jesus himself has said in John 16v5-7 "But now I am going away to the One who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I've told you.  But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don't the Holy Spirit won't come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you."

And even after Jesus had vanished into the clouds, the disciples still gathered around looking into the sky for Him to return!  So two angels came and said to the disciples in Acts 1v11 "You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky." From there the disciples returned to Jerusalem and waited.  They didn't have to wait long! Only 10 days! Then the Holy Spirit came, filled them and started living within them as part of the fulfilment of the New Covenant we have talked about.

Just as it was for those 12 disciples, so it is with all believers down through history. But more about that - next time on Partake!

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