The thing is—He didn’t stop!
He broke the gravitational pull of the earth He had created, passed through the stratosphere, and sailed by other of His little projects, suns and moons, stars and other things we don’t even know about yet. He didn’t stop until He reached the Throne of Heaven.
I remember celebrating when the race of human beings ascended to the moon in July of 1969. But we had to stop there. Humanists do their best to install mankind on the throne of the universe. “Man is the judge of all things.”
What a bleak prospect.
We need a higher standard than who man is and what man can do.
The coronation of sinful man on a throne demanding our obeisance is a short step downward to Francis Schaeffer’s “line of despair.” His scathing examination of 20th Century philosophies revealed that without God in our thinking each of us must cross a line leading only to meaninglessness. Without a Creator, creation is marvelous, random accident with no meaning.
On the other hand, we have The Ascension.
The followers of Christ might have called the days since their Last Supper with Jesus a roller coaster ride if they had known what that was.
- He’s with us!
- He’s arrested!
- He’s pronounced guilty!
- He’s dead and buried!
- He’s back!
- He’s full of promises!
- He’s gone!
- One more thing: He’s coming back!
They had the good sense to obey the Lord so they filed back into Jerusalem to wait for the Promise of the Father—the power to tell the world about Jesus.
Who shall ascend?
Centuries before, the Psalmist David spoke of a different kind of ascension. He asked the most fundamental worship questions: “Who shall ascend the Hill of the Lord” Who shall stand in the Holy Place?”
This is the joy and power of the New Covenant: Jesus ascended to the Throne of Heaven and now, in the wonder of “spirit and truth” worship, we ascend the mountain of revelation to stand with the throng before The Throne of God and of the Lamb.
Forget the technical help needed for flight. Focus on the story of Redemption and the face of our Redeemer. Empty your heart of its earthly passion, your mind of its temporal distractions, and your body of its time-driven tensions. Fill your resulting emptiness with the truth, the presence, the power, and the peace of Christ.
In others words: Ascend!
Don’t stop at the limits of Earth’s pull. Sail past the moon. Leave the stars behind and ascend to the Throne of God where Jesus dwells and reigns. In the process, you cross “the line of hope.” He welcomes you there with a smile on His lovely face.
He is the measure of all things.
Psalm 24 NIV
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty — he is the King of glory.
Hebrews 12:22-24 NKJV
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Acts 1:1-12 NIV
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 showed himself to these men 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.” So when they met together, they 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.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.
Lord Jesus, You have ascended on high—to the very Throne of Heaven. Let me hear the songs of the angels all through this day. “Holy, holy, holy!” Let Your holiness go before me and behind me today—no enemy can penetrate this cordon of defense. I will ascend this day, every step will be a step up. I hear Your upward call today and move in Your strength. When this day ends, I will have ascended. All for Your Glory, Lord. Amen.
We’re Marching to Zion
Words: Isaac Watts; Music: Robert Lowry
1. Come, we that love the Lord, and let our joys be known,
Join in a song with sweet accord, join in a song with sweet accord
And thus surround the throne, and thus surround the throne.
We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.
2. Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God,
But children of the heavenly King, but children of the heavenly King,
May speak their joys abroad, may speak their joys abroad.
3. The hill of Zion yields a thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields, before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk he golden streets, or walk the golden streets.
4. Then let our songs abound and every tear be dry;
We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground, We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground,
To fairer worlds on high to fairer worlds on high.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved