Forty days after Easter Sunday we celebrate Ascension Day, when Jesus ascended into heaven leaving His disciples and you and me to complete His work. The blessing and commissioning Jesus gave us on Ascension Day is similar to how God blessed and commissioned us when He first created man and woman.
Once God had created man in His image, He blessed him and told him to rule the earth. Blessing and Purpose go hand in hand (Genesis 1:28). When Jesus had completed His work of redeeming the world, He did the same. He walked with His disciples (only eleven of them at this time) out to an isolated hill and miraculously ascended to heaven. His parting words, found in Matthew 28:18-20, are known as The Great Commission. Then Jesus came to them and said,
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Because we have given our authority to the Serpent through our choice to sin, Jesus had to live, die and rise again to get the authority back. Once again He gave His authority over to us. These parting words are both a blessing and a commissioning. We work in the name of Jesus. Every believer is blessed and commissioned. This is not just for the pastors or the missionaries; all of us have been told that our world is in dire need of liberation. Before sin, God told us to rule while being fruitful and multiplying. Now that the world has become so corrupt, the instructions have changed. Now our purpose is to go to the nations with the gospel of salvation. We are sent to teach the world about how much God our Father loves us and how Jesus His Son redeemed us so that He could live in us through His Holy Spirit and help us be better than we are. It is our purpose for living.
Ascension Day will be celebrated on May 13th this year. May you use this day to receive the blessing that Jesus has given you in redeeming you from your sins. Open your heart, mind, and spirit to where He sends you to make disciples.
Acts 1:10-11 tells the rest of the story. The disciples seemed a little stunned at the miracle that took place before their eyes and seemed to stand there, unable to move, gawking at the sky in wonder. God sent two angels to remind them what Jesus told them to do. Obviously, they did it. All eleven of them were faithful to take the gospel into the entire world, making disciples who passed on the message to you. Now it is your turn. The baton has been passed into your hands. How do you respond? Are you still standing there gawking? Have you moved from the place of knowing Jesus yourself into going to make disciples where Jesus tells you?