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086 Jesus Ascends to Heaven

While they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight’   Acts 1:9

Key Verse:

“This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”    (Acts 1:11)

(Matthew 28; Luke 24; Acts 1)

For many lessons now, we have been looking into the holy Gospel, the book which contains the story of the Almighty Savior, Jesus Christ. As we have seen already, Jesus means God saves. Christ is a Greek word for Messiah meaning

Whom God has appointed.

Jesus Christ is the One whom God appointed to save the children of Adam from the dominion of sin.

However, as we have seen, most people did not recognize who Jesus really was. Some considered Him a prophet, but they did not understand that

He was the very Word of God

which came from heaven and appeared on earth as a man. Some, like the chief priests and the rulers of the Jews, were very jealous of Him, and in the end they killed Him by having Him hung on a cross. However, God planned and knew about all these events beforehand. The Messiah’s death on the cross was in perfect agreement with the plan God had announced long beforehand through His prophets. In our last lesson, we saw that

God raised Jesus back to life on the third day.

The resurrection of Jesus proves that God accepted the blood which Jesus shed as a full payment to redeem the children of Adam from the power of sin, the fear of death and the punishment of hell.

After Jesus came back to life, we saw that He appeared to His disciples, showing them the scars where the soldiers had pounded nails through His hands and feet. We also read that Jesus ate with His disciples to prove to them that

He really was alive.

The book of the Gospel relates how Jesus appeared to His disciples over a forty-day period and spoke with them about the Kingdom of God. On one occasion, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of His disciples at the same time. (1 Cor. 15:6) However, the greatest proof that Jesus is alive today is in the fact that He lives within the hearts of those who believe in Him and submit themselves

to His authority.

In this lesson with the help of God, we will hear about the great authority God has given to the Lord Jesus and we will see how Jesus parted with His disciples and ascended up to heaven. We begin our study in the last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. The Scripture says: (Matthew 28:16-20) “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him,

they worshipped him;

but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, all authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. Amen.”

Did you hear what Jesus said to His disciples? He said to them, All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations.” Why did Jesus say that

He had all authority in heaven and on earth?

In our studies in the Books of Moses, we saw how God created the first man, Adam. We read that God gave Adam authority to rule over everything God had created. God wanted Adam to live with Him and rule with Him forever. But

Adam forfeited that authority

on the day he disobeyed God’s command and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Since Adam is our forefather, and since “An epidemic is not confined to the one from whom it originates!”, we too have lost the privilege (authority) of living and ruling with God. Like Adam,

we are all sinners,

born into the kingdom of sin, far from God and His majestic glory.

However, we praise God, because the Scriptures show that God designed a plan to open for the children of Adam a door through which they could return to God and have a share in His glory and kingdom. That “Door” is

the holy Messiah

who came from heaven to pour out His blood as a sacrifice to cleanse people from their sins and to bring them to God. Jesus the Messiah was tested like Adam, but Jesus did not sin. He was perfect and holy, just as God is perfect and holy. That was the reason that God was not ashamed to call him His Son. Thus after Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice to take away sin, God raised Him from the dead, made Him the Lord of all and committed to Him

“all authority in heaven and on earth.”

Perhaps some would ask the question, “If Jesus is Lord of everything, why is our world still so full of trouble and sin?” The Holy Scripture gives the answer when it says: 

“But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that sleep. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 

(1 Corinthians 15:22-24) 

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away” 

(Rev. 21:4)

From those verses, and from many other verses in the Word of God, we learn that God has committed all authority to Jesus so that He might take control of everything, and judge everyone. However, He has not yet taken actual control of everything, nor has He yet judged the people of the world.

One day Jesus will return to earth.

When He returns, He will take control of this world and make all things new again.

Therefore, whoever you are and wherever you are, God is commanding you to repent of your sins, turn to Him and believe the Good News of salvation based on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you truly believe, God will forgive all your sins in Jesus’ name, make your heart new by the power of the Holy Spirit, and give you peace with God forever. If you believe in Christ, He will come to you by His Holy Spirit and establish His rule in your heart. Jesus Christ will not change the world until He returns in person to judge it. But

He can change you today!

Will you allow Him to begin His rule in your heart?

Dear friend, God has sent you a Savior who can take away your sins and give you a heart that is new and clean. You can know that you will spend eternity with God in the glory of Paradise, if you believe the truth about Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world! However, if you ignore the Savior whom God sent,

He will finally become your Judge!

That is what the Scripture speaks of when it says: “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe” (2 Thes. 1:7-10)

Friend,

the Word of God is clear.

It tells us that whoever truly believes the Good News about Jesus Christ, His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, will be saved! However, whoever does not believe it will be condemned! Jesus shed His blood as a sacrifice which can erase your debt of sin forever. But the blood which Jesus shed for you is of no value to you if you do not believe it in your heart. Because the Scripture says: “For God so loved the world, that

he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life … he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16,18)

Yes, if you believe the Good News of Jesus Christ,

you will be saved,

but if you do not believe it,

you will perish in your sins.

That is the word of salvation which God sent down to the children of Adam. That is the reason Jesus commanded His disciples, saying: “All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations” (Matt. 28:18,19)

Now let us continue the story. Jesus appeared to His disciples over forty days after He had risen from the dead. The Scripture says: (Acts 1:4-5) “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem,

but wait for the promise of the Father,

which, saith he, ye have heard from me. For John truly baptised with water; but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”.

Did you hear what Jesus said? We have already read (in the Gospel of John 14-16) how Jesus promised His disciples that His Father in heaven would send to them the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, who would live

in their hearts,

cleansing them, renewing them, strengthening them, and guiding them into all truth. Now we hear how He commanded His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit who was soon to come. In our next lesson, God willing, we will see how the Holy Spirit descended to fill the hearts of all the disciples of Jesus,

just as He had promised.

Let us now read how Jesus departed from His disciples and ascended to heaven. The Scripture says: (Acts 1:6-11) “When they, therefore, were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

But

ye shall receive power,

after the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And, when he had spoken these things, while they beheld,

he was taken up,

and a cloud received him out of their sight.

And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven,

shall so come

in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”.

Thus Jesus ascended into heaven, returning to His Father’s house from where He had come some thirty-three years earlier. How majestic His departure was as He ascended into heaven before the eyes of His small band of disciples! There was no doubt—this Jesus whom they had been following over the past three years was truly the Messiah about whom all the prophets had spoken! In His birth, life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension – Jesus of Nazareth had fulfilled everything the prophets predicted concerning Him,

even ascending into heaven

as the prophet David had prophesied in the Psalms.

Friends, do you know where the Lord Jesus is today? The Scriptures tell us that 

“Jesus Christ, who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Pet. 3:21,22)

Yes,

Jesus is in heaven,

at God’s right hand, where all created beings are in submission to Him. All of God’s true subjects are submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ.

How about you?

Have you submitted yourself to Jesus the Messiah, the One chosen by God as the Savior and Judge of the world?

As we just read, after the Lord Jesus ascended back up to heaven, two angels appeared to His disciples and said to them, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus,

who is taken up from you into heaven,

shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Yes,

one day Jesus Christ will return

in the clouds. Are you ready for His return? On that day everyone will behold Him, and everyone will know that He is the One whom God appointed as

the Savior and as the Judge of the world!

That is what the Scriptures declare when they say: (Phil. 2:6-11) “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.

Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and

given him a name which is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father”.

In the next lesson we hope to discover how God sent down the Holy Spirit to live in the heart of every person who receives Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

God bless you as you remember what the two angels told the disciples, saying, 

“This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have