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Men's Connection: Meditations for May 10, 2011

By Bill Brettschneider. May 11, 2011. BLOWING ROCK -- Each Tuesday morning, the Men's Connection meets at Chetola Mountain Resort, Blowing Rock, for breakfast (7:30 am), fellowship and Bible study. Blowing Rock News is pleased to share these weekly meditations, by discussion leader Bill Brettschneider.




Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From our discussion last week of the Resurrection of Christ, we can consider that event to be the crowning fulfillment of all that was foretold.  It led to the Ascension of Christ – the pivotal event which set the stage for all that will be fulfilled.   For them to believe, the disciples did not need to witness the Resurrection. They only needed to come face-to-face with the Risen Lord.  It was imperative for them to witness the Ascension such that they would be left with no doubt regarding the person and purpose of Christ.

Both the Gospels of Mark and Luke recount some aspect of the Ascension.  Yet, our text for the day is taken from Luke’s other writing, the Book of Acts, Chapter 1, 1-11.

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “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 in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

As we noted Tuesday morning, after reading this passage I am reminded of the breakfast buffet at Chetola – it is hard to know where to begin since there are so many good choices.  So also, with Luke’s writing – so many good words written of an account that changed the lives of those present and changed the world from that point forward.

Herein various thoughts from our discussion:

Of the 40 day period – we have seen that window of time in a number of locations throughout Scripture. Of what significance is the 40 days and how did Jesus use his time prior to His Ascension? This number has been used by God as a period of testing or judgment required to accomplish some major portion of God’s plan for mankind.  Consider the additional examples with which you may be familiar –

40 days for the flood (Gen 7:17)

40 days Moses on the Mount with God after the Golden Calf (Deut. 9:18, 25)

40 days for the spies, with a sentence of 40 years in the desert (Num 13:25; 14:34)

40 days of Jonah and Nineveh (Jonah 3:4)

40 days of Christ’s temptation by the Devil in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2)

From Luke’s writings we can see that Jesus used this time “teaching,” “giving instructions,” and offering many “convincing proofs.”  Could it be that having risen he had “finally gotten” the attention of the disciples and thus used this time to be well-certain they were prepared for his departure?

Or, perhaps they were not prepared, not fully understanding.  Even as he provides them with the expectation of receiving “the gift my Father promised,” what is the next question they ask – “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” They stand on the threshold of receiving a power the scope of which goes beyond anything of which they are capable, and their first thought is of earthly victory, perhaps followed by “Where do I get to sit?”  Yet, lest we unfairly treat the disciples should we not ask – “Are we not they?”  Do we look only to Jesus for temporal answers to challenges and concerns while missing the impact we can have for eternity,in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth?”

As we have used our time this season to explore prophecies foretold and fulfilled, what of the words of Jesus himself regarding his Ascension?  Did he not say this would take place?

John 3:12-15 – speaking to Nicodemus

I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

John 14:2-4 – Jesus speaking to His disciples

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for youI will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Luke 24:26 – Jesus with the travelers on the road to Emmaus

Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

These are only a few of the examples wherein Jesus faithfully foretold ALL that was to come to pass.  For the disciples and for us, Jesus desired that they and we be fully convinced that HE is indeed the Messiah of prophecy and the fulfillment of all Old Testament types concerning His whole ministry.  When he was done with his precise instructions, he left them and was taken up into heaven.  Nothing more needed to be said – “Let’s get to work.”

Are those not our “marching orders” as well?

Join us this coming week Tuesday, May 17, 7:30 AM, as we continue to explore the Mission of Jesus – His Exaltation and His Return.  Bring your Bible . . . and bring a friend.




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