Faith Time: Ascension Day

Faith Time

Pastor Wayne Miller from Grace Lutheran Church in Mobile joins us to talk about Jesus Ascension.  Here’s a look at our conversation:

Chad:
 This past week was the marking of Jesus Ascension–what is that Bible Story?  

Guest:
40 days after Easter this happened. For most Christians, the most important days of the year are Christmas and Easter. Yet, in times past, Christians would not have answered only with Christmas and Easter, but also with Christ’s ascension into heaven. Christ’s resurrection from the dead, descent into hell and ascension into heaven are His exaltation, His glorious triumph over sin, death, and the devil. The emphasis on the Ascension in the Church Year was so great, particularly in the 16th century, that it became a secular holiday and remains so in many European nations, e.g., Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland.

Chad:
 What are the lessons people should take from it?

Guest:
Ascension Day for Christians sometimes has been seen as a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, Jesus received all authority in heaven and on earth, which shows that He has saved us from sin and death and shepherds the entire Church on earth. On the other hand, the Ascension marks the time when the “Bridegroom is taken away”. 

The tension between rejoicing over Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil and a sense of loss because the “Bridegroom is taken away” resulted in one of the greatest controversies in church history-the controversy over Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper. Throughout the Church around the world, Christ is very present with us in with and under the bread and wine, exactly where he promised us he would be as he reigns over the entire world today by his Ascension. 

Chad:
Why did Jesus leave?

Guest:
Simply, his ministry was accomplished. Jesus spoke from the cross, “It is finished.” His work on the cross and then his resurrection from the dead all defeating sin, satan, and death has been accomplished for the world. Now is the time of the Spirit, the time of the Church, to gather lambs and build up the faith in God’s Children for generations to come by the power of the Gospel. The Church is still going to stay (and whether people like it or not) it will never go away until Jesus comes back. 

Chad:
Why was it a joyful occasion for the disciples?

Guest:
I’m not sure at first that they felt joyous. Their minds were once again on earthly matters of man that he would build up an earthly kingdom. I can see the disciples looking up in the sky as Jesus leaves, completely bewildered and confused, but then they were reminded by the angels, the angels had to come to tell them some good news, and remind them….He will return and they remembered that he will send the Helper, The Holy Spirit to be with them until Jesus comes back the way he left. Immediately their hearts were filled with a future. Yes, there is joy in the Ascension. 

Chad:
 What’s the hardest part of this story for you?

Guest:
 It can be confusing for the Christian and perhaps easier if Jesus would just stay with us, but that is not in the plan of the Christian faith. What makes it easy is the Lord’s Supper and his promises that he made before he left…so his Word is still here on earth, his supper is still here on this earth. A Christ who remains in heaven separated from His people is a Christ who is not there for us. If Christ is not there for us, He does us little good. But he is here. All the time. 

Chad:
  How did the Christian ministry continue after ascension?

Guest:  
Jesus gave clear instruction…make disciples, make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And then the Church was built beginning with baptisms, the breaking of bread, the preaching and teaching of the Word and the apostles, fellowship, and prayer. Jesus gave us His Word and know one of the last words he spoke on this earth before his return: “Remember that I am with you always even until the very end of the age.” What comfort for the living and the dead!
 

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