The Advent Part 14
Acts 1:9, “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
After the great miracle of His resurrection, and upon having been seen by His disciples as well as many others, the second great miracle of Christ occurs, namely that of being taken up as His disciples watched. It is the miracle with which our Savior ended His journey on this earth, the miracle with which He ended His work while among mankind.
The ascension of Christ, just as the resurrection of Christ is powerful proof that He conquered death, the grave, and the devil. We do not serve a dead God, we do not serve an impotent God, we are not as the prophets of Baal once were, dancing about and cutting ourselves but never hearing from the one we are worshipping, we know that our Redeemer lives, we know that He conquered the grave, we know that He ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of the Father.
From what we can deduce from the twenty fourth chapter of Luke, as well as the first chapter of Acts, the ascension of Christ took place on the Mount of Olives, which separated Jerusalem from Bethany.
There is nothing that Jesus left unfulfilled, nothing He forgot to let His disciples in on before He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight, and so having given them their final instructions, having poured into them all the wisdom and knowledge necessary for them to continue their journey, He ascended into heaven. Jesus knew that He was leaving His disciples in good hands, He had time and time again comforted and encouraged them by reminding them that He would not leave them orphans, that He would send the Comforter, the Helper, the one who would help them carry on, persevere, overcome, and be faithful until the end.
As the disciples watched, Jesus was taken up. It was clear, and absent of ambiguity, Jesus didn’t go hide behind a tree, then disappear into the ether, He didn’t tell them He’d be right back never to return, they saw with their own eyes as Jesus ascended into the clouds, and of this the continued to testify throughout their lives. It is what they had seen, what they had felt, what they had touched, what they had experienced, that they shared with others, and it is these experiences that fueled their conviction, and their steadfastness in the faith.
Jesus rose from the dead not so He could continue living His life as before, but to take His rightful place in the glory He shared with the Father before time began. As was the case with His entire ministry, He returned to the Father, He returned into glory publicly, before the eyes of those who followed after Him, and not secretly or mysteriously. From the beginning of His time on earth, to the very end of His journey, Jesus was transparent. He was an open book, and anyone that desired to know Him could know Him, anyone that desired to understand Him, could understand Him if they were willing to abandon their preconceived notions, ambitions and pre-established dogmas. Jesus didn’t ride around in a fleet of top of the line chariots, He didn’t shy away from helping the afflicted, binding the broken, comforting the hurting, or speaking life to those who were spiritually dead, nor was He safely cocooned between six bodyguards as He walked the streets of Galilee.
Why is it that men who are supposed to be the followers of Christ, who purport to have Jesus as their master act nothing like Him? Why is it that when Jesus commanded us to be humble, we give ourselves over to pride, when He commanded us to be wise, we give ourselves over to foolishness, when He commanded us to be faithful we give ourselves over to compromise, when He commanded us to speak truth, we water it down because it is more palatable for the masses?
Not only is the inconsistency between the followers of Christ and Christ Himself glaring and self-evident, it is detrimental to the kingdom of God, as well as those faithful few who will not compromise, who will not go with the flow, who will not bow to the pressures of being mocked and despised, because their allegiance is not to a man or to a denomination but to Christ and Christ alone. The world looks on those who have Christ on their lips yet live as they do, then they look at those who walk the narrow path of faith, and the conclusion they come to, is that those walking the narrow path of faith are just extremists, men and women who deserve to be marginalized and ostracized because the great majority of ‘Christians’ aren’t all that different from themselves.
There is a story that makes the rounds in Romania once in a while of a man who went to a village and introduced himself as a doctor. Since the village had no doctor, he was welcomed with open arms, given a home to live in, and after some time the locals began to come to him and ask to be examined. The man would go through the motions of asking the folks to stick out their tongues, feel their foreheads to see if they were warm, but he never really prescribed anything, or diagnosed anyone. This went on for quite some time until an elderly man, came to the sham doctor and said, ‘sir I fear you are not what you pretend to be!’
I think the same could be said of many who call themselves Christians today, who hold positions of power and prominence, who have forgotten that being a follower of Christ is to be a servant to all, and master over none, I fear that they are not what they pretend to be. May we be authentic Christians, full of wisdom, full of grace, full of faith, and full of the power of God.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.