Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Acts 1:7-11 which begins with Jesus telling his disciples,   

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”


I want to do something different today. Instead of focusing on one of the Scripture lessons many churches used in their Sunday services yesterday, I’m going to discuss an event commemorated THIS COMING THURSDAY. Yes, Thursday. 40 days after Easter, a special service takes place in many Christian churches around the world to mark Ascension Day. It is a day where people who believe in Jesus celebrate the fact that Jesus, the one who lived, died, and rose again from the dead, also ascended into heaven and took His proper place at the right hand of God the Father, the position of power over all the universe. Yes, the crucified one is also the one who is coming again to judge both the living and the dead. Why? Because He is the one who lived, died and rose for all so that all might live in Him.

That’s part of the Ascension Day proclamation. But there’s more! And this should be an even greater wonder. Jesus went away, as it were, so that you and I could be even more blessed. What? Yes, that’s what I said. Actually, it’s what Jesus said. In John 16:7 he says, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Ephesians 4:8-11 says that Jesus ascended so that He could pour out His gifts to people. So, Jesus’ ascension serves not only as a declaration of the power and the position of Jesus over all things. His ascension is also a wonderful declaration that the ascended Jesus would indeed unleash the Holy Spirit as His comforting, advocating gift to us, which he did 10 days later on Pentecost (see Acts 2:33). He has also empowered us with His Word to bless us and to share with others. He has not left us powerless. Through the Holy Spirit, the Jesus who walked this earth, died on the cross, rose again, and ascended to His position of power can be with us in ways that are even closer than a brother.

Jesus’ ascension is not just an event in history that leaves us praising Him in awesome wonder. It’s a day to reflect on the fact that even the ascension is something Jesus did FOR US. He ascended so that we could be empowered by His enduring presence, His gift of the Holy Spirit, and His Word to receive and to wield in all its fullness so that others might be blessed by Him too.

Ascension, empowerment, and living life to its fullest in Christ! Let this Thursday’s celebration begin.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us a sense of awe and wonder to realize that events like Your leaving this earth to ascend into heaven is for our blessing and good. AMEN.

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