The Cross was the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law, He fulfilled as many as 350 O.T. Prophecies. (Luke 24:44) He had to end His earthly life in this manner to fulfill the Will of the Father for the coming age. The Church Age Dispensation. (6th of 7)
On the Cross Jesus stated, “It Is Finished” John 19:30 (Greek tetelestai-to discharge a debt) This statement did not mean that His earthly ministry was complete but that this act had completed the payment of the debt of sin by man. Jesus earthly ministry would not be complete for another 40 days, until the Ascension to the right hand of the Father.
Would it have been easier and better for Jesus to remain on earth, since He is an eternal God and could have remained for all time converting all those whom He and His disciples came into contact with?
With continuation of His works and miracles, would not more have been converted to the Kingdom?
If Jesus would have continued on earth, there would be no reason for Faith or Hope. It would simply be to see and hear about the Works and Miracles to believe, which would take away any reason we have to pursue life on earth.
The forty days after crucifixion, Acts 1:3-4, allowed Him to show many “Proofs” and continue the training of His chosen to reach their full potential in the turbulent times that were to come. The ascension also allows Jesus to take His proper place at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55, Luke 22:69, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42 ) and as intercessor and Mediator for man. (1 Tim 2:5, Heb 8:6, 1John 2:1)
Read Acts 1:1-11
Promise 1: The Holy Spirit. Acts 1:5-“Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost”. His promise to have a Holy Spirit indwell every believer; to guide, direct, and lead as necessary to walk firmly in the Will of God.
Eph 1:13, “Ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise”
John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;“
John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
A promise also made in the Old Testament
Eze 36:26, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you:”
Joel 2:28, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh;”
Promise 2: Power. Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive Power” through the Holy Ghost. They were given all power to complete the works which Jesus is directing them to do, NOT what they expected since they question Him in vs. 6 “Will thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel”. But He lets them now that now is not “for you to know the times, and seasons which the Father has put in His own Power.”
This power given through the Holy Spirit is that of the confidence, intelligence, and ability to go out and do that which He is commanding them to do. (Acts 1:8)
Promise 3: A Purpose Acts 1:8, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. “
Luke 24:47, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Matt 28:18-19,” And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Their purpose now was to grow the church, wherever they went. Acts 2:42-47 shows us 4 things that were done daily at the command of Christ.
- They taught divine truth from the word of God Acts 2:42 “believers held steadfastly to the teaching”
- They devoted themselves to the importance of fellowship Acts 2:42. We are called to live a life of favor together:
- John 15:12 Love one another
- Gal 6:2 Carry one another’s burdens
- Eph 4:32 Forgive one another
- 1 Thess 5:11 Encourage One another
- 1 Corr 12:12-26 We are of One Body
- Heb 10:23-25 Not forsaking our assemblies
- They prioritized worship and the Lord’s Supper Acts 2:42
- They were regularly involved in outreach as Acts 2:47 state, “everyday the Lord added to the number of those who were being saved”.
Acts 2:43 And fear(Great respect) came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
These 4 items are still as applicable today. As leaders of the church, we are responsible to uphold God’s standards in the church and work with the Pastor to convert, lead and grow His church.
Promise 4: His Return Acts1:11 “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
The angels attending Jesus ascension assured the apostles that He would be seen again. He was going to return for His people. The Apostles had never realized before this the magnitude of the Kingdom that He had been telling them about. But they were the new leaders of the earthly ministry. Luke 24:45, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,”
The Ascension is rarely taught or preached about, in my opinion, but I believe it is one of the most important days in the earthly life of Christ-Maybe #4 behind, birth, death and resurrection.
As believers we are promised the Holy Spirit as a comforter and helper.
We are promised the Power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin in our own lives and to help others with theirs
We are promised a purpose as His commands have not changed in 2000 years!
We are promised His return in many places in the old and new testament.