Day 63 May 21, 2020
Today is a special day in the Christian calendar. Today is Ascension Day and the assigned scriptures for today are: Psalm 47; Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:15-23 and Luke 24:44-53.
Luke 24:44-53 (CEB) 44 “Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.”
Ascension of Jesus 50 He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. 51 As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 They worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. 53 And they were continuously in the temple praising God.”
The Message: 44 “Then he said, "Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled."
45 He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way.
46 He said, "You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day,
47 and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations - starting from here, from Jerusalem!
48 You're the first to hear and see it. You're the witnesses.
49 What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you're equipped with power from on high."
50 He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them,
51 and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.
52 And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy.
53 They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.”
Jesus spent three years of ministry preparing his disciples to continue his teachings and God’s mission in the world. After his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples many times offering encouragement and preparing them for this time. He is turning the ministry over to his followers and reminds them that they will receive what God has promised to help equip them for this ministry. That promise is the gift of the Holy Spirit which we will recognize on the Day of Pentecost. It is interesting that Luke is the only Gospel mentioning the Ascension. It is also interesting to me that the observance of the ascension by the disciples is without any kind of excitement except that Luke records that they are filled with joy. They are praying, they are worshiping Jesus, they get up and go back to Jerusalem. How do you imagine you would have acted if you had witnessed Jesus being taken up to heaven?
“The Ascension” “Everliving God, your eternal Christ once dwelt on earth, confined by time and space. Give us faith to discern in every time and place the presence among us of him who is head over all things and fills all, even Jesus Christ our ascended Lord. Amen” (Laurence Hull Stookey, USA, 20th century.
Today: Food Pantries