We ought never to forget that Christianity is a religion established on the miraculous! That might seem like a sweeping statement, especially coming from one who believes that the “spectacular” gifts were withdrawn as we shall see later on in the Book of Acts. When I say Christianity was established on the miraculous I mean …
(a) The God of Christianity created everything that exists through the spoken Word. You need to understand this … there was nothing and God spoke and everything came to be. That is the miraculous!
Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
(b) The God of Christianity formulated a people as His people in a land not their own. Israel was formed and shaped in a foreign land where they became slaves. Miraculously God took His people out of Egypt, crossing the Red Sea without getting wet, crossing the Jordan River without getting wet, conquering the Land of Canaan and settling the people in relative peace.
(c) The God of Christianity came to planet earth to redeem those He chose before the creation of this world. We call this the incarnation, where God miraculously took on our humanity, yet remaining sinless. He accomplished this through becoming man, born of a virgin through the agency of the Holy Spirit, not having a human father.
Mt 1:20 an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
(d) The God of Christianity’s real name is Yahweh, translated Jehovah in Greek and LORD in English. The name Jesus comes from Yehoshua, meaning “God is deliverance”. Yehoshua is derived from “yeho” which means God and “shua” which means deliver or save. We get the name Joshua from Yehoshua and Jesus from Joshua. Look at how the Bible describes the name Jesus
Mt 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
He will save His people from their sins … Savior … Deliverer! Now get a handle on this … this Jesus who is Deliverer is actually God:
Mt 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
Surely this is the miraculous?
(e) The God of Christianity demonstrated His unique “God-ness” through performing many healings, exorcisms and miracles during the three years of active ministry.
(f) The God of Christianity dies and rises substitutionally. The resurrection means taking back His life. Surely substitutionally, death and resurrection means miraculous! Having said all of the above, if the God of Christianity is the God of the miraculous, He is able to defy anything He has set in place for the safety of our planet, such as the Force of Gravity.
Ac 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
This is miraculous … a miracle to us, daily business to God. He walked in the Garden of Eden and He met up with Abraham before He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. He often sent angels to do His bidding, like with Joseph above.
1) What does the Ascension mean for Jesus? He returns to glory to be reunited with His Father and resume His eternal role in the fullest capacity as God the Son. When we deal with the Great Commission of Matthew 28 our focus is normally on making disciples and tend to overlook Jesus authority.
Mt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”
If Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, it means He reigns as King and Lord over His Kingdom. At the same time, He intercedes for His people before the Father as our advocate.
1Jn 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
The term “one who speaks” is better translated as advocate. 2) What does the Ascension means for the Godhead? You will recall that whilst upon earth Jesus could only be in one geographical place at a time. Being in the flesh He was limited in movement and presence. Yet, with Him in heaven and the promised Gift from the Father, God the Spirit meant Him being present everywhere, all the time and not limited by movement. Jesus is here by His Spirit.
3) What does the Ascension mean for His people?
(i) It means the awareness of ownership.
(ii) It means the assurance of eternal salvation.
(iii) It means knowing God is present with you all the time.
1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.
1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
4) What does … “this same Jesus” … “will come back” mean?
Ac 1:11 “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.
We will return to verses 10-11 tomorrow … but for today … “this same Jesus” … means God the Son will return to this planet because there is unfinished business to conduct. A peep into tomorrow … years ago there was a popular hymn commonly known as … “Jesus is coming again”. This is the great hope of the Church.
5) What does … “the same way” mean? Many have become fixated, believing Jesus will return on the clouds. “The same way” might not mean that at all. Jesus’ departure was miraculous and “the same way” might mean miraculous! It is true that we read:
Rev 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him
But how will this be? The planet is round with many time zones … how will every eye see him returning on the clouds? The answer is … miraculously! God is the God of that which is truly miraculous … truly contrary to human understanding and ability.
Father, help us not to want miracles for self and self-satisfaction, yet help us to understand that You are the God of the miraculous. In our personal lives, the New Birth is the most miraculous thing ever in Jesus. Amen.