Sermon: King Jesus Ascending His Throne (Luke 24:50-53)

King Jesus Ascending His Throne

Luke 24:50-53

Introduction

On October 10, 2010 we began this adventure with Luke as he faithfully told of the eyewitness accounts concerning his Lord and our, Jesus Christ.  His investigations and interviews of those who were actually there and saw and heard Jesus proved to be a very profitable study.  We’ve seen Jesus heal those who society had all but written off.  We’ve experienced the sick made well, the blind actually open their eyes and see for the first time.  We’ve watched alongside the others as Jesus touches lepers and their skin becomes as soft as a baby’s.  As we read the Scriptures together, we were with them when Jesus placed His hand on the coffin of a widow’s only son and say, arise!  We were on the boat that day when the waves were about to capsize us.  Everyone was in a panic and Jesus was sleeping.  Sleeping in the midst of a storm, calm and peaceful.  The other woke Him and He says, oh you of little faith.  He then walked to the front of the ship stretches out His hand and actually rebuked the wind…Peace be still!… and the waves as if the storm could hear Him…the storm did hear and obeyed and immediately hushed its roar.  Everyone in the boat stood soaked to the bone, speechless.  Who is this Man that even can command the storm and the storm listens?

As we read through Luke’s Gospel we heard Jesus also teach.  He taught as no one ever taught before or since.  His words were not words that resulted in legalism such as all the rules the Israelites placed on the Sabbath that made it harder work to keep the Sabbath than it would have been to not even observe it at all.  His words were from God.  Jesus taught us what God desires not what man desires or thinks.   He taught that sin runs much deeper than just sinful deeds but that sin originates within our hearts.  If you think lustful thoughts then you have committed adultery or if you are angry with someone, God equates it with murder.  He taught us that it’s not what goes into a person that makes them sinful but what comes out.

Luke showed us the birth of Jesus like no other Gospel.  He told us about the angels and how Mary treasured up these things.  He told about Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist and how John would make Jerusalem ready to hear Jesus’ Words.

Luke took us to the cross and challenged us to look long and hard at just what Jesus did to save you and me.  We saw the Roman mob arrest our Lord.  We saw the mock trials.  We heard all the officials declare Jesus’ innocence.  We read of how they beat Him, mocked Him, and crucified Him.  Luke took us to the cross and Jesus’ death.  He took us to the tomb as Jesus was laid to rest in a new tomb.  Luke took us early in the morning with the women to anoint His body, only to discover that He had risen indeed.  After the resurrection, Luke explains to us that all this was told about in the OT.  Every prophecy, vision, prediction, narrative, and teaching was saturated with Jesus.

Now it’s time for our Lord to return to heaven and be our Intercessor.  Luke alone takes us to the location near Bethany as our Lord leaves and ascends to Heaven.

Primary Claim of the Text

The ascension of Jesus is the rightful King reclaiming His throne.

Human Condition Met By the Text

In our fallen state, we tend to think we can do everything ourselves.  Uncovering human potential is the battle cry of our liberal society.  Mankind is basically good and all that needs to happen is to eradicate poverty and illiteracy and all our societies ills will go away.

Jesus knew that is His followers were going to overcome sin and be a powerful force for God’s Kingdom, they could not do it by themselves…they needed help.  So, Jesus announces to coming of the Helper, One who empowers His people to continue His mission.

Luke 24:50-53 (ESV)
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

1.  King Jesus Pledges His Grace

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.

When Jesus departs, He leaves us the promise of God’s blessing.  All who are in Christ live with God’s eternal hand upon you.  We are not left as orphans but as beloved children.

Jesus lifts His hands and promises God’s goodness to His followers.  Because God cannot lie or break His promise then we as His people can always rejoice in the fact that God’s grace and mercy follow us.

Brothers and sisters when we encounter trials of every kind and when we encounter struggles…remember Jesus left behind His blessing.  His blessing will follow you wherever you go.

Psalm 23:6 (ESV)
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Last week we learned of the peace that Jesus gave His followers.  We learned that the peace was purchased for them by Jesus on the cross.  He gave them peace as a gift of grace.

I pray you have experienced this peace and also the blessing of grace.

When Jesus lifts His hands to heaven He is, in fact, pronouncing the benediction upon His followers.  Many church services end with a benediction…when the pastor will pray that God’s goodness would go with the people.  Here, Jesus is giving the benediction at the conclusion of His earthly ministry.

Because of all that He accomplished while on earth, His people can have grace and peace.

This is one point that we must understand…When Jesus pledges God’s goodness, blessing, upon His people He is giving them what God promised to Israel if they were to be faithful and keep His covenant.
The dilemma for God’s people was that they rarely if ever kept His commands, as He wanted them to.  They continually broke His covenant and continually received what God promised…curses.
Brothers and sisters Jesus kept God’s covenant perfectly and through the death and resurrection His sinless covenant keeping is attributed to us!

Deuteronomy 28:1-6 (ESV)
1 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.
3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.
5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
Do you see today that a sinless Savior can lift up His hands and declare that God’s covenant blessings will be forever on His people.
With all that Good News, there still is the flip side of the coin and that is that these wonderful promises are not intended to be for everyone in the world but only those who have trusted Christ as Lord and Savior.  Only for God’s people are the great blessings declared and placed upon.

The curses in Deuteronomy 28 will forever be upon those who willfully reject the offer of Christ.  Those who don’t think they need Jesus because they really don’t think their sin is all that bad.  Or those who don’t think they are sinners at all will suffer forever in a place prepared for the devil and his angels.

2.  King Jesus Ascends His Throne

51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

It is significant that Jesus ascended back to Heaven while He was in Bethany,

Zechariah 14:4-5 (ESV)
4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.
5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

The place where they stood was none other than the Mount of Olives.  They were in the vicinity of Bethany.   Luke tells us later in his second book that Jesus will return in the same way.

Jesus is in the process of blessing His followers as He is then taken back up to heaven.

Theologians call this the ascension.   The ascension is very significant in many ways.

A. The Ascension shows that King Jesus is exalted.  This is the real Jesus.  He is not a lowly homeless carpenter/preacher.  He is the Son of God.  No more will Jesus take a lowly meager position.  As that saw Him leave, they were seeing Him go home to heaven.  Jesus Christ is exalted.

Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV)
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

B. The ascension vindicates King Jesus  He is completely sinless and perfect in every way, yet, Jesus came to this wicked sinful world to remake sinners into His image.  In order to accomplish this miracle Jesus had to take on our nature and even our sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Now God is glorifying His Son and vindicating Him, showing all who were there that day that Jesus’ cross work was accepted by the Father.

C. The ascension shows us that Jesus is going away to prepare a place for us.

John 14:1-3 (ESV)
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

D. The ascension guarantees our future glory

Hebrews 9:15 (ESV)
15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
This is the idea that Jesus is currently in heaven applying the New Covenant to His people by interceding for us day and night.  We receive the promised eternal inheritance because Jesus is now in heaven interceding for the saints.

Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Because of the resurrection, we too have been raised and because of the ascension we too have been given access to the heavenliess.  Even though we still find ourselves on earth, we understand that in God’s mind, it’s as if we are already there.

E. The ascension of King Jesus enables Him to pour out the Holy Spirit

John 15:26 (ESV)
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
Jesus had to go before He could send the Holy Spirit to be our helper.  This is the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham that through him all the nations would be blest…even the Gentiles would receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

Not only did the disciples receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them but by coming to them they knew Jesus was seated on the right hand of power on His throne ruling.  When the Holy Spirit came the disciples new that Jesus made it back home to heaven and that He just kept another promise.  This promise was made to Abraham and they were there to receive it.

This time, Jesus would not vanish before their eyes like before but they would watch as He was taken up into the clouds.

3.  King Jesus is Worshiped and Loved
52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

What changed?  Before they were sad when Jesus left them…now joy fills their hearts.

The big change in the disciples at this point is that they believe everything Jesus has told them.  They now see that the Messiah, King Jesus had to die in order to accomplish His mission…to seek out and save the lost.  They understood clearly everything He taught them and how the Scripture even predicted this many centuries before.  So, they believed His Words completely.

The second thing they understood and believed is that Jesus is the Son of God.  They respond in worship which is unfit if Jesus is not deity.

Luke tells us that they obey Jesus’ Words, they go back to the city and wait for the Holy Spirit to be revealed to them.  While they are in the city they worship continually in the temple.  In the temple is where the Gospel of Luke basically begins.  Remember Simeon and Anna.  It’s in the Temple that old Simeon lifts up baby Jesus and prophecies concerning His life.  It’s in the Temple where Anna…

Luke 2:37 (ESV)
37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
The Gospel of Luke ends as the faithful followers now wait just as Jesus told them.  While they wait they pray, worship, and praise God.  They believed Jesus enough to actually do what He told them.

Beloved, we too are waiting.  We are waiting our Lord’s return.  Their example of what to do while waiting should be an example for us.  We wait for the Lord and as we wait, we pray and worship and praise God…

Primary Claim of the Text

The ascension of Jesus is the rightful King reclaiming His throne.

 

 

 

 

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