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Pastor's Column 5/5/2024

PASTOR’S COLUMN


“Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting His hands to heaven, He blessed them. While He was blessing them, He led them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped Him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple praising God.”        Luke 24:50-53, NLT


“Up, But Never Away!”


When Jesus departed to heaven, to minister with the heavenly Father some forty days after his victorious Resurrection; initially, it must have been a moment of perplexity. Luke explains, the disciples were “looking intently up into the sky as He was going.” (Acts 1:10, NIV). The look was one of wonder and concern. When there is a sudden change or absence in our immediate world, we are all prone to be anxious. Psychologists tell us, a child’s fear of a dark room at night, is not merely the absence of light; but the absence of a parent or familiar person in their space. One, whose presence has been annihilated by the darkness. In Luke’s continuation of the Ascension narrative, “Two men in white apparel” (presumably angels), reassures the Galilean disciples, “This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into glory.” (Acts 1:11, NIV). This promising statement, may have been the cause that turned the disciples’ anxiety into renewed assurance and joy. I believe the message they received said, although Jesus had ascended up from the disciples, He was not out of their lives. We know from the parting words of Jesus, He promised to be with us, even unto the end of all ages. Christ is with us. Despite how undefined the time is with us; it is “boundless time” with the Lord. The ministry of Jesus on earth. did not stop after His ascension; but has continued through the apostles, saints, and all who bear His name and claim His cause. No clouds; atmosphere; or galaxies, could ever keep Christ out of our lives. He indwells the hearts and minds of every true believer, and He lives in us. Shakespeare said, “Parting is such sweet/sorrow.” Maybe the sorrow was in seeing Jesus leave; but the sweetness is in knowing that He is still Immanuel – God with Us. No shadows, nor storms will ever keep Him away. Jesus went up, but is never away!

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