Ascension Day – Thursday
And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. – Luke 24:51.
When our Lord had told His apostles what we heard yesterday, “He lifted up His hands and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51). He was taken up visibly, while they were looking on. “And a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). The psalmist prophesied: “God is gone up with a shout; the Lord with the sound of a trumpet” (Psalm 47:5). “And while they [the disciples] looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said: ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:10-11). This is Christ’s ascension. So did the Son of God, our Savior, end His visible sojourn on earth.
Ascending to heaven to plead His merits before the Father as our High Priest, He also blessed His apostles in their mission to spread His Gospel. In blessing them, He parted from His disciples. He blesses all His disciples, all His Christians, through His Word. This is the blessing which He purchased on the cross and brought with Him from the grave. Whenever you think of your Savior, remember that He blesses you in this life with His redemption, His deliverance for us, His believers, (and for all) from “the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13); remember that this dear Savior blesses us as the “one Mediator between God and men, …who gave Himself a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:5-6), so that now God, on account of Christ Jesus, is at “peace” (Luke 2:14) with “the world” (John 3:16), “not imputing [not charging] their trespasses unto them [unto all in the world]” (II Corinthians 5:19).
Oh, this priceless, wonderful message is for you; keep treasuring it as your greatest treasure; keep comforting yourself with these precious blessings from Jesus; be encouraged already now with the Savior’s future blessing, when, at His second advent, He will lovingly declare to all of His saints, to all the righteous: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). “Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
PRAYER – Omnipotent, almighty, and gracious God, give to us, who believe in Thine own ascended Son, our Savior, the Source of our strength, through His substitutionary, perfect obedience and His sinless sacrifice for us and for all sinners, to help us to daily grow in our thankfulness to Thee and to Thy Son for Thy marvelous, undeserved, and unearned grace and mercy toward us corrupt sinners (from our conception and birth), bringing us out of the darkness of unbelief into the marvelous light of Thy forgiveness for all of our sins through our dear Savior, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20). Amen.
“See, the Conqueror mounts in triumph; see the King in royal state,
riding on the clouds, His chariot, to His heavenly palace gate!
Hark, the choirs of angel voices, joyful alleluias sing;
and the portals high are lifted, to receive their heavenly King.
While He lifts His hands in blessing, He is parted from His friends;
while their eager eyes behold Him, He upon the clouds ascends.
He who walked with God and pleased Him, preaching truth and doom to come;
He, our Enoch, is translated, to His everlasting home.
Glory be to God the Father; Glory be to God the Son,
dying, risen, ascending for us; who the heavenly realm hath won.
Glory to the Holy Spirit; to One God in Persons Three;
glory both in earth and heaven, glory, endless glory, be.”
(TLH) – Hymn 218, st. 1, 3, 6