Laying Down Our LivesWhat sometimes holds you back from laying down your life for others?
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Jesus has been taken from you into heaven,
but someday He will return from heaven in the
same way you saw Him go! (v.11).
One of my favorite movies is the 1982 science
fiction blockbuster E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The
movie ends with an emotional scene as E.T. says
goodbye to his young friend Elliot. Before entering the
spaceship, E.T. tells him, “I’ll be right here,” pointing his
glowing finger to Elliott’s head. E.T. then walks into the
spaceship and takes off, leaving a rainbow in the sky,
which in a way reminds me of Jesus’ ascension.
Ascension Day is the day Jesus returned to heaven,
40 days after His crucifixion (Acts 1:3). Unlike Good
Friday, Easter Sunday, or Pentecost Sunday, very few
churches hold services to remember Jesus’ return to
heaven. So what does His ascension mean for us today?
Prior to His ascension, Jesus told His disciples, “You will
be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere”
(v.8). His return to the Father set in motion the powerful
indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit (vv.4-5,8). Jesus
said that He had to go away (John 16:7). Only then
would the Father send the Holy Spirit as a gift to us (Acts
1:4; John 14:16-17). He came to indwell every believer
(1 Corinthians 3:16), and to be our Advocate, Comforter,
Counselor, and Teacher (John 14:26, 15:26).
Jesus’ return to heaven set the course for His promised
return to earth (v.11). Having completed His redemptive
work on the cross, Jesus continues His intercessory work
as our Advocate and High Priest in heaven, enthroned at the Father’s right hand
(Romans 8:34; Hebrews 8:1-2; 1 John 2:1). “But someday He will return from
heaven in the same way you saw Him go” (Acts 1:11) and “with great power
and glory” (Mark 13:26).
Considering that nearly 2,000 years have already passed, the day of His
return for us could come much sooner than we expect (Rom. 13:11; 1 Peter 4:7).
But today, by His Spirit, He is “right here” in our hearts. —K.T. Sim
What does Ephesians 1:18 teach you about
Jesus’ return to heaven?
Why do you feel it’s
important to remember
Jesus’ return to the Father?
How does His imminent
return to earth affect the
way you live today?
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