Wednesday in the First Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 1:6-11

He Ascended into Heaven

This has ever been one of the essential teachings of the Church and so is recorded in the ancient creeds: “He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”  It is this doctrine that affords us so much comfort as we consider that our Lord is at the right hand of power, a power he works on our behalf to root sin out of our lives and provide us gifts for ministry.  From there he intercedes for us as our faithful High Priest (Hebrews 7:25).  And the fact that he is there reminds us of his certain return that he may finish what he started.  We now live in that period between the times, the time of his first and second advents, this time of grace and salvation, which shall one day close when he returns on the clouds of heaven.

And so the disciples ask him just before he ascends, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  Some assert that they were still thinking in terms of the Kingdom of God as a political kingdom on earth.  I disagree.  As I said yesterday, what did Jesus teach them during those forty days but of that very Kingdom, the preaching of the gospel, and the foundation of his Church!  Surely by now they would have forfeited such notions as a political entity thumbing its nose at Rome as beneath the dignity of their Risen King!  I believe they were asking the same question which we ask: “Lord, when shall you return as King of kings and Lord of lords and usher in that kingdom of peace which the prophets proclaimed (e.g., Isaiah 2:1-5) and our hearts so desire?”  And the Lord did not dismiss their question but only told them the that Father has reserved such matters unto His own wisdom (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32).  Instead, they were to satisfy themselves with the knowledge and expectation that soon they would be possessed of such power which had heretofore been unknown, not as in the Old Testament when the saints were possessed of such power for periods of time to perform specific tasks, but instead an indwelling power for personal holiness and public ministry, power whereby gifts would be dispensed to believers for witness to the nations, power that would establish Christ’s Church.  That power belongs to the Holy Spirit who was and is the promise of the Father, given to His Christ, who sends him to be within us.

And so our Lord had to go; he had to leave to make room for the coming of the Holy Spirit, through whom we would do “greater works than these” (John 14:12).  And we know that from there he shall return, for, “This Jesus, who was taken up from [us] into heaven, will come in the same way….”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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