Meditation for Ascension Day 2021

Posted

Psalm 68:18

Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men …

Acts 1:1-11

1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Meditation

Thursday, May 13, is Ascension Day, a Christian festival often forgotten by churches today. It is the day to remember Jesus’ ascension into heaven and the fact that He now rules over and fills all things (Eph. 1:17-23) and will soon return to judge the living and the dead and establish His everlasting kingdom. Today, we consider the words of the angels to Jesus’ disciples when Jesus was taken up into heaven.

This Word of God, which was spoken by angels to the disciples who had just witnessed Jesus’ ascension into heaven, teaches us that Jesus Christ will return visibly in the clouds of glory on the Last Day. The Bible also says this in Revelation 1:7: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

As Jesus ascended into heaven, so He shall also return on the Last Day, the Day of Judgment. He will come again in clouds of glory. Every eye will see Him! His return will be no secret rapture — both the believer and the unbeliever will see Him coming in glory!

In Matthew 24:29-31, we read: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

But, are you ready for His return and judgment? Are you prepared to meet Him?

Those who do not trust in Him for salvation will wail in sorrow at His return because they stand condemned for not trusting in the only begotten Son of God. In John 3:18, we read: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Mark 16:16 says: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

And, in 2 Thess. 1:7-10, God’s Word says: “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”

But those who do trust in Christ Jesus as their Savior — believing that they have pardon for their sins and peace with God for the sake of Christ’s innocent sufferings and death in their stead — will rejoice at His return because He comes to take them to be with Him forever in the mansions of heaven.

In John 14:1-3, Jesus says: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (Cf. Luke 21:27-28; Heb. 9:27-28; 1 Thess. 4:13-18.)

Do you acknowledge your sins and look to Christ and His cross for mercy and forgiveness? If not, the day of His return will be for you a day of sorrow and mourning as you face His eternal judgment and condemnation!

But, if you agree with God about your sins and trust in Christ and the atonement He made for the sins of the world when He died on the cross, that day will be a day of joy and gladness as you receive His mercy, His pardon, and life eternal in His glorious kingdom!

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, as You have ascended up into heaven to the right hand of God the Father, so come again and take us to be with You forever. Graciously keep us in the true faith so that, on that Day, we may greet You with joy and not with sorrow. Grant this to us for the sake of Your holy life and bitter sufferings and death upon the cross in our stead. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

“A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing” (The Lutheran Hymnal, No. 212)

1 A hymn of glory let us sing;
New songs thro’out the world shall ring:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Christ, by a road before untrod.
Ascendeth to the throne of God.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

2 The holy apostolic band
Upon the Mount of Olives stand;
Alleluia! Alleluia!
And with His followers they see
Jesus’ resplendent majesty.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

3 To whom the angels, drawing nigh,
“Why stand and gaze upon the sky?
Alleluia! Alleluia!
This is the Savior,” thus they say;
“This is His noble triumph-day.”
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

4 “Again shall ye behold Him so
As ye today have seen Him go.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
In glorious pomp ascending high
Up to the portals of the sky.”
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

5 Oh, grant us thitherward to tend
And with unwearied hearts ascend,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Unto Thy kingdom’s throne, where Thou,
As is our faith, art seated now.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

6 Be Thou our Joy and strong Defense,
Who art our future Recompense:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
So shall the light that springs from Thee
Be ours through all eternity.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

7 O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to Thee let earth accord,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit One.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Amen.

Text Information
Title: A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing
Latin Title: Hymnum canamus gloriae
Translator: Benjamin Webb (1854, alt.)
Author: The Venerable Bede, d. 735

Tune Information
Name: LASST UNS ERFREUEN
Source: “Geistliche Kirchengesäng,” Cologne, 1623

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