Surprised He Left
April 25, 2021
Text: Acts 1:1-11
- Jesus appeared over a period of 40 days. F.F. Bruce writes, “FF BRUCE: “We should not imagine that the intervals between His Resurrection appearances during the forty days were spent by him in some intermediate, earth-bound state. The resurrection appearances, in where he condescended to the disciples’ temporal condition of life, even going so far as to eat with them, were visitations from the exalted and eternal world to which His “body of glory” now belonged. What happened on the fortieth day was that this series of visitations came to an end, with a scene which impressed on the disciples their Master’s heavenly glory.”
- Acts 1:6: Their expectation is that Jesus will restore Israel. That is, make himself the physical king of Israel. Jesus would not do what they expect, but would surprise them by leaving!
- Acts 1:9: The ascension happened “before their very eyes.” Luke wants us to know that something objective took place. They didn’t dream he went into heaven, they physically saw him rise into the sky.
- Acts 1:9: Notice when Jesus ascended, a “cloud” hid them from their sight. The cloud is sometimes called “the cloud of the Shekinah.” See: Ex. 16:10, Psalm 104:3. For Moses, the cloud rested above the tent. Jesus stepped into the Shekinah.
I. The Ascension is the embodiment of an important theology: God
What is Jesus doing right now during his “session” ?
When Jesus became incarnate, he suspended the privileges he enjoyed in heaven. When he ascended the Father restored the privileges of the Godhead. (So while he was on earth, he did not do miracles of his own power, but the Father enabled him. He did not have knowledge on his own, but by the Spirit’s enabling)
What happened two thousand years ago when Jesus walked the earth would become the center of the Bible, God’s Word. It would be preached, and then written down in “Gospels.” Those Gospels are exalted texts that tell of the exalted Son, around whom all Scripture breathes.
II. The Ascension is an exclamation mark on two great physical promises:
Jesus said it is better, or to our “advantage” that he go away. His leaving is better in 2 ways:
1. Numerically: While on earth, only a few people could really be near Jesus at a time. His presence through the Holy Spirit allows him to be near anyone at any time.
2. Intimacy: On earth, you could come near Jesus, but through the Holy Spirit, we experience Jesus in a different way; spiritually he is present in our very body. (John 15:23)
He will return the same way he left: In the sky. On the clouds. Physically.
Notice: Jesus took his physical body into heaven. He doesn’t need a physical body in the spiritual heavens. He carried his body physically into heaven because he will return physically, destroy this earth, and resurrect the creation so that we will live with him physically on a new heaven and new earth. He is the first of those physically resurrected from the dead.
Concluding thought: If the Father exalted Jesus, then I need to.
Exalt him through obedience.
Exalt him through worship.
Exalt him in my thoughts.
Exalt him by believing his promises.
Exalt him by loving others.
Exalt him in my words.
Exalt him by repenting.