Ready | Devotion #6: How?
In school, I was always fascinated with the English language. Physical education was my favorite class by a good margin, but I remember liking English fairly well, too. Do not get me started on math class though, I dreaded it and was very glad to only need two years to graduate.
One thing that plagued me in English was how to use proper punctuation. I always wonder about commas, colons, semi-colons, and does the period go before or after the quotation mark? To this day, I am still a bit confused. Thankfully there are people much smarter than me to proofread these devotions and catch my mistakes and run on sentences.
You might be wondering what punctuation has to do with this devotion. My only goal is to use it as an illustration. As we have been going through this Encore series, we have explored the topics of Recognize, Believe, Obey and now Ready. The Ascension of Jesus Christ is the Scripture passage being used. The work of Christ in redemption rests on four truths that are essential to being a Christian. 1. Jesus was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life. 2. He paid for our sin by His death on a cross. 3. He conquered death through His resurrection on the third day. 4. He ascended into Heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father constantly interceding on our behalf. He is alive forevermore!
Here is the connection. To gain a clearer picture, and just for fun, maybe we can look at those truths as punctuation marks. His life can be represented by quotation marks. The Bible is the spoken Word of God, and Jesus’ life is obviously depicted. His death is the period. Sin was defeated, end of the sentence (think about that one). His resurrection could be the comma. When we see a comma, we take a breath because there is more to come. His ascension might be the exclamation point. It is the ultimate mic drop of the encore. Pastor David Jeremiah said Jesus was “completely and finally demonstrating that His atonement forever solved the problem sin created.”
Jesus walked this earth physically for forty days after the resurrection. He was seen multiple times and at one appearance by over 500 people. These appearances convinced His disciples, beyond any doubt, that He had risen from the dead. He had accomplished the purpose set before Him from the foundation of the earth, and now He ascends to the Father. Acts 1:9 says, “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” Hebrews 12:2 adds, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
That is glorious news! The very thing that we as believers want most, to be in Heaven with our Savior, has been accomplished by Jesus. Did you know we will be “lifted up” as well? “Harpazo” is the Greek word used 13 times in the New Testament and its translation means to be “caught up or lifted up.” The bottom line is that we are to be ready. How do we do that? Hebrews 12:1 tells us that we are to run this Christian race throwing off the hindrances and sin. We are to run with perseverance “fixing our eyes upon Jesus” who ran the perfect race before us. Here is an important point to remember, without the ascension, there would be no Holy Spirit by which we are convicted of sin, convinced as to our need for a Savior and, according to Lamentations 1:16, comforted to the point it relieves our soul. Christ had to leave (ascend) for the promise of the Holy Spirit to take place.
There is no order of importance with these truths. Of utmost importance, though is that you believe them. If you are reading this and have not asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, please refer back to the four truths mentioned in the second paragraph. Believe them and ask Jesus, the only One with the power to save you from eternal separation, to come into your heart. Are you ready?