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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
God Flies! part 1
With Ascension Day coming tomorrow (Thursday 5.21) I've been thinking a lot about the Ascension. Here's my question:  What difference does it make? In my own experience people don't talk too much about it. Yet I've heard theologian types claim it is the most central reality in the life of Christ.  

So why does it matter? There are other ways Jesus could have gotten to the right hand of God. He could have simply said "Beam me up," or something like that. He could have disappeared in the night when noone was looking. So why does this little account in Acts 1:1-11 matter? This must have huge implications for the practice of Christian worship.  

I've got so many thoughts about it, but before going into those, I'd like to hear what you think. I promise not to critique responses. 

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posted by John David Walt | at 5/20/2009 01:19:00 PM

 

7 Comments:

Blogger Joshua Andrew Smith said...

Well, I'll take a stab at some possibilities as to why He was taken up before their very eyes and hidden from their sight behind a cloud-

1.) To foreshadow the manner of His return.

2.) To further display His command over physical nature.

3.) To ease the transition between presence and absence.

4.) To prevent them from wondering whether He had really left or not.

5.) To give JD Walt something to blow my mind with that I hadn't yet thought about.

P.S. That blog post you asked about was the result of a dream I had the night before.

6:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Jamey said...

I think it's important because it's what Ethan still remembers about the Passion play (Jesus flying). Maybe it had that same effect on the witnesses of it?

12:33 AM EDT  
Blogger sandra r. said...

Oh, wow...
I'm so excited to see this!
A few nights ago I was trying to find some background info on the hymn "He Lives". I was also looking for some Scriptures related to it, and I ended up in Luke 24 and Acts 1...

So, why does it matter?!
- "witnesses" in verse 8. The disciples seeing Christ "taken up before their very eyes" (verse 9) must have affirmed their faith in a huge, incredible way! If they were going to be Christ's witnesses to the ends of the earth, then this was definitely a pretty tangible affirmation of the things He had told them... (John 14:12, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.")

It's interesting that they had not yet been baptized by the Holy Spirit yet at this point...

Somehow, I think it's also connected to Matthew 6:10 of the Lord's prayer:
"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Lots to think about as my thoughts are pretty jumbled (in a good way) right now...

1:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marcus G said...

JD - been thinking about this myself. Long thoughts (as per usual) - so if you've time jump over to http://salvationssongs.blogspot.com/2009/05/going-up.html for my take.
Happy Ascension Day! The only way is Up!

7:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Kendra said...

The ascension points to Christ's ordination of the church through leadership of the apostles. Luke wrote his gospel with gentiles as a significant part of God's kingdom. Then, in Acts he begins with 40 days of the risen Christ on earth. 40 is often used during times of transformation. 40 years prior to Moses commission. 40 years wandering before the promised land entry. 40 days on mt. Sinai before the Law was given. His ascension closes out the former age, and miraculously provides a sign for the authority of the apostles and their teaching among the church. He did not evaporate like a ghost or decay like a man. His physical body, that had just been with them, ascended to a place only God could go. (Wright brothers weren't around yet.)

Why fly? Agree with JAS #1 - foreshadow the end of the church age, his future return. To provide confirmation (miracle) of his authority being passed on to apostles. To begin the ingathering of the gentiles. To confirm to the apostles their offical status as leaders among the church - eyewitnesses.

Acts begins stationary in Jerusalem, waiting. Then extends to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. The gentiles look to completed Jews (I think all of the apostles were...) for the authentic message of salvation. The Abrahamic covenant at work! Now, completed Jews get to participate in being a blessing to the nations.

Reminds me a little of the mount of transfiguration. He was seen in His glory with Moses and Elijah. Now he goes to where they are. They were not to speak to anyone about it until the son of man rose from the dead.

12:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Kendra said...

In His ascension he is saying, "SPEAK!"

1:00 AM EDT  
Blogger OnNorthFace said...

Also, the Ascension gave way to the Spirit. "Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."

10:22 AM EDT  

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