The Significance of Jesus’ Ascension

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Edward Bolwell, ascension day, Acrylic Paint on MDF Board; 2017

Yesterday was Ascension Day, when celebrate the ascension of Jesus to the Father in heaven after His resurrection from death (Luke 24:49-51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:3-10). I believe the ascension is one of the most-neglected aspects of the life of Jesus with greater significance for our life with God as disciples of Jesus than we usually realize.

I wrote three posts in 2018 about the importance of the ascension for our faith because of Jesus’ reign as King, Jesus’ mediation eternally, and Jesus’ future return in glory, and would encourage you to join me in considering the significance of Jesus’ ascension.

Read them here:

A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 2

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Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week. This prayer is drawn from Hebrews 2. The complete list of prayers from Hebrews is included at the bottom of this post. You could also view a message, “The Mystery of the Incarnation,” from this passage by Pastor Nic Fridenmaker here.

Father God, we praise You
for Your mysterious wisdom
in sending Jesus, Your eternally-begotten Son,
as our incarnate Messiah.

Jesus the Son, we are in awe of You,
the perfect human who restored our fractured glory
by taking the destructive way of the Cross
and making it the way that brings life.

Thank You for sharing the humility of our flesh and blood
by entering into human temptation and suffering.
Thank You for bringing divine balm for sin’s pain
and freedom from death by breaking the power of the devil.

Holy Spirit, we need Your presence and power
more than we understand within every moment of every day.
Strengthen us to receive divine grace through Christ’s sacrificial gift
and empower us to live our daily lives yielded to You.

All this we pray in the name
of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—
One God, from eternity past to eternity future—
to whom belongs all honor and glory both now and forever.
Amen.


Prayers from Hebrews:

A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 1:5-14

image 3 - Hebrews

Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week. This prayer is drawn from Hebrews 1:5-14. The complete list of prayers from Hebrews is included at the bottom of this post. You could also view my message, “Jesus, King of Angels,” from this passage here.

Lord Jesus Christ, we exalt You
as the Name above every name;
the only One worthy of sitting
at the right hand of the Father.

You are the Lord of hosts,
and the King of the angels,
who Scripture tells us
worship around Your throne.

We admit that sometimes we lose our way,
letting other messages and messengers captivate us
in ways that belong only to You,
who truly are the final Word of God.

Once again, we ask You
to open the eyes of our hearts
not only to the hope to which You have called us,
but also to the glory of who You are. 

All this we pray, through Your name, Jesus,
which is greater than any other name,
to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
be all honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.

 


Prayers from Hebrews:

A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 1:1-4

image 3 - Hebrews

Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week.. This prayer is inspired by Hebrews 1:1-4. You could also view my message, “Jesus, the Final Word,” from this passage here.

Lord our God, we praise You
for Your infinite grace to us
in revealing Yourself to us
through the prophets and ancestors
at many times and in various ways.

We thank You, our God,
that You do not consider it too small a thing
to speak to us, to condescend to us,
and to give Your written word to us in Scripture.

But most of all, gracious Father,
we thank You for the gift of Your Son,
Jesus our Messiah, who is the final Word
and the ultimate revelation of who You are.

In this season when we celebrate His resurrection,
give us particular grace to see
with the eyes of our hearts opened wide
the multi-faceted splendor of Jesus Christ.

All this we pray, through Him, Jesus Christ,
Our High Priest and Perfect Sacrifice,
to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit
be all honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.

The First Day

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. (Luke 24:1)

the first day:
walking with heavy loads and burdened hearts
to the place His breathless body lay.
every hour seemed so still
since that dark day.

but now, the first day:
their hesitating procession to the tomb
finds the place, but not Him;
and aching emptiness
meets anger’s anxiety.

yet, on the first day
two men send shivers of loud light
mingled with a message:
‘He’s alive like a new day’s dawning!’
and they remember His words.

this first day is the third day
that sends the dark day running.


This is the seventh in a group of seven original poems composed for Holy Week, including:

The Glory

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there. (Luke 23:32-33)

without fanfare, the King of Glory is pinned
with gory force upon the beams of wood.

the people watch with voiceless stares.
the sneering rulers speak their fears.
the soldiers mock with maiming force.

overhead the notice speaks sharp
truth: this is the King of the Jews.

with no apparent human heroism,
His snapping skeleton – bloody body –
hangs heavy as God’s heart becomes a wound
opened wide with welcome for all who wash
their weary selves within its messy flow.

but now He hangs at God’s cross purposes
as holiness and grace collide with fire.
the vulture views the spectacle and waits,
as all earth’s air is drained out of God’s lungs.


This is the fourth in a group of seven original poems composed for Holy Week, including:

Sprouting Glory: A Christmas reflection

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Dusty, the longing rises from the ground,
a small leafy sprout breaking from the stump.
Where the green is, eyes look in wonder,
as hope grows from sprout to sapling.
The earth, scorched with anger and loss,
ignores at first, but cannot fail to notice,
amidst the ashen landscape, as first leaves
and buds begin to raise their forms to light.
While all around seems decayed with death,
here – only here – life begins again.
Like a phoenix, hope surges in flames,
as Holy Spirit quivers amongst every leaf and branch.
Now, now is the moment, the time of arrival,
and all the angels cry out, “Glory!”