Friday, 30 May 2014

The Ascension of the Lord Into Heaven

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with the them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” Acts 1:1-11

The period of time, following Jesus' resurrection was an extraordinary and privileged time for Jesus' disciples, after witnessing his death on the cross. Death is Satan's crushing argument, used to destroy people's faith in Jesus and the gospel of life. Jesus exposes the deceit of Satan's argument by appearing alive, with a new and unexpected fullness of life that will never die. The defeated and broken faith of the disciples is restored in this most convincing way.

As convincing as his appearances were, Jesus had plans for an even greater defense against Satan's lies. It would be the Spirit, literally dwelling within the very heart of the believer, speaking the Word of Truth to the one who's faith is under attack. 

And so, this time of appearances by Jesus would end as we see in this feast of the Lord's Ascension. The Age of the Spirit is about to begin.

We might think that if Jesus were to appear to us, our faith would be secure forever. But each time our faith would come under attack, Jesus would have to appear again, and again. Make no mistake, our faith will always be under attack, some times in minor ways but in more vulnerable times, with Satan's vicious severity. 

BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT- which is the bringing into the communion of our souls, the person of the Holy Spirit, is the new Way that Jesus reveals. It becomes the dynamic principle of the Christian Life. Without this dynamic and personal relationship, and the prayer and devotion that accompanies it as an on going part of our faith life, we are little more than fledglings in the nest before talons of the predator. 

In earlier postings, I include a series on the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" (see side column) I recommend these for your review at this time. 

See also Novena to the Holy Spirit (click)


Christ ascended into heaven to send the Holy Spirit on the apostles. Let us join with one voice in praising him, and say,
Send us your Spirit.

Lord Jesus, you ascended into heaven; send us the promise of the Father,
– that we may be clothed with power from on high.
Send us your Spirit.

Your disciples were to be as wise as serpents and as simple as doves,
– through your Spirit teach us prudence and simplicity.
Send us your Spirit.

You are seated at the right hand of the Father; pray for us as our Priest,
– and pray in us as our Head.
Send us your Spirit.

Grant that in every trial we may suffer with you,
– and so be glorified with you.
Send us your Spirit.

O God,
 who restore us to eternal life
 in the Resurrection of Christ,
 raise us up, we pray, to the author of our salvation,
 who is seated at your right hand,
 so that, when our Savior comes again in majesty,
 those you have given new birth in Baptism
 may be clothed with blessed immortality.
 Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.
(Morning Prayer, Friday, 6th Week of Easter)

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