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The Mystery of the Ascension

I love the story repeated in the Gospels and Acts of how the disciples went to the mountain Jesus had told them to go and there He met with them and encouraged them, then ascended into the heavens. The disciples just stood there dumbstruck, and angels had to appear and tell them what Jesus told them to do. It was a mystical moment. I would have loved to have been there. Even at a moment like this the scripture tells us that there were doubters among them.

I don’t think I would be among the doubters, but I confess I would definitelybe among the dumbstruck. I don’t fully take in all that God reveals tome. I’m not sure if it is my lack of faith, my lack of paying attentionto the things of God, or simply my preoccupation with myself and how this isgoing to affect my life and the needs I think I have. Anyway, I know I miss outon all that God is doing. Perhaps it is my finite mind and the reality that Ican’t fully comprehend God until I am changed more fully into His likeness.

Somehow Paul, who wasn’t present at the ascension, was given some heavenlyinsights into more of what happened that day. We read in Ephesians 4:7-13:

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men. (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Paul connected the ascension he was told about and Psalms 68:18. He was able to show us that Jesus blessed us and sent us out into the world to preach the gospel with gifts that he gave to us when He ascended on high. All of that was happening to t he dumbstruck disciples. They were not only being blessed and instructed, but they were also being given gifts that they would need to do the work God has given them to do. (There’s also a lot more he did like leading captives in his train and descending to the lower earth! What’s that all about?)

Do you see what I mean? There is so much more to God than what we think we see. I need to remember that when I see just what I see. I need to practice the discipline of not judging God, my circumstances or my faith by what I see, think and feel. I need to remember that God is more mysterious than I can imagine and find peace in His goodness. That is what I know for sure. He is good and He would never ask anything that is not good for me—even if I can’t see it at the time.



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