The Ascension Gaze

How often do you gaze as the disciples did that day?  (Acts 1:10) They with their physical eyes, us looking at the unseen, gazing with our inner man (Romans 8:1-8; 2 Cor. 4:18; Hebrews 11:27).  It is how we look to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith.  We look to Him who is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high!  We set our minds on things above where we too are seated, having our lives hid in Christ.  

While all around me people are complaining about how busy the month of May is, I want to resolve to continue to walk with Jesus at His pace, living life at His pace, leaving time to breathe.  For Mother’s Day my daughter wrote me a card exclaiming how much she enjoyed my smile, and my singing as I go about my tasks.  No mundane task is “unsacred.”  Children are not thankful for chaos, for our hurriedly disjointed and fragmented and disordered “use” of time and space.  Now that we are grown, we are too often tempted to fill every time and space; but in doing so, what do you push out?

Fleshly Matter and Time and Space

Jesus came in time and space, that we could know Him (1 John).  Our hearts and minds were created by Him, for Him, and capable of knowing Him as He has revealed Himself.  Then in the flesh, and now by His Spirit leading us into pondering His coming in the flesh.  

And by “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” He has made Himself known to His people.  Jesus came in the flesh, and when He ascended it was in the flesh.  He is ever fully man and fully God.  And He wants us to cling to Him, abiding in His words, remembering the words that were taught–spoken and written, by the apostles and prophets (Titus 2:11-3:7; Jude 1-4, 17f; Ephesians 2: 2:20-22; 2 Peter 1:19; John 14-16; 1 John; John 1:45).  

He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is never ‘updated,’ He is unchanging; though our understanding grows, and the Spirit leads us into knowing Him deeper.  Yet because He has ascended we need never wonder how to know Him, how to hear from Him, how to listen.  We turn to His words, we listen to the Scriptures, and He gives us understanding!  (see Romans 10:8)

…if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.  11 “For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it far away. 12 It is not in heaven, that you could say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and get it for us, and proclaim it to us, so that we may follow it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you could say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us and get it for us and proclaim it to us, so that we may follow it?’ 14 On the contrary, the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may follow it.

Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Spirit and Truth

When we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, it is by His Spirit–the Spirit of Truth, the One who would take Jesus’ words and make them plain to us; and it is by the Truth, that is by Jesus Himself who declared that He is the Truth.  Worshiping in Spirit and Truth has sometimes led those who ‘contemplate’ apart from the Word to think it means according to my inner thoughts.  For more on this, see Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity, (Philipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing; 2004), 67.

Or some mistakenly think Jesus is merely talking about the place. The New Testament clearly teaches us that to worship rightly we no longer have daily and seasonal rituals in the temple in Jerusalem, for He is the Temple, and He is building His Temple, the Church.  And the Church is not a location but a people.  His people, that He purified for His own possession (Titus 2).  I say merely because that is but one facet of the meaning.

The Risen and Ascended Jesus, our Great High Priest and our sacrifice, is our forerunner who invites us to know and worship the Father by the Spirit through Himself (the Son). Ponder  Romans 11:36; Hebrews 9:14; Ephesians 2:18.

Jesus ascended, and now interceeds.  He is our High Priest, our King, our Prophet.  High and exalted, and yet near, abiding in His people.  He entered heaven, in flesh like ours; He is our forerunner.  Let us fix our gaze steadily upon Him, and endure, and persevere, and enjoy His life and peace (Hebrews 12; Romans 8), and bask in the love of our Triune God.  

Give yourself time and space, and encourage those you fellowship with to as well, to muse upon His ascension. Consider your High Priest, Prophet, and King, in His glory, His steadfast love (hesed!), and His goodness that will relentlessly pursue you all the days of your life (Psalm 23).