I get goose bumps on Easter morning when the organ begins to belt out the trumpets announcing great news. We greeted one another by saying, “He is risen!” When we say, “Hallelujah,” we are really bragging on God and celebrating who He is and what He has done. The tomb is empty because Christ has risen from the dead. What does that mean? How might it impact our lives?
While all Christian churches celebrate Easter, typically liturgical churches celebrate Ascension Day and most others combine the thought of Jesus ascending in with resurrection. God directed me to a liturgical church for about 5 years and I’ve been so grateful for the experience. It was there that I learned the distinction for the first time! Eye opening. So let’s consider that today. New life begins. Then what?
What does resurrection accomplish for those who accept Christ’s work on their behalf?
Jesus’ unique identity as Son of God is demonstrated. We need have no doubt that He is the promised Messiah who was sent to save us from all sin.
4 his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Romans 1:4 (MSG)
The Old Testament Law pointed out sin and failure but did nothing to alleviate our guilt over those failures. Now we are declared not guilty. Try making a list of your sins and weaknesses and failures. Then cross through each one as you declare you have now received God’s approval because Jesus was raised from the dead in triumph. I assure you it is a powerful exercise!
17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 1 Corinthians 15:17 (NLT2)
23 But the words “his faith was regarded as God’s approval of him” were written not only for him 24 but also for us. Our faith will be regarded as God’s approval of us who believe in the one who brought Jesus, our Lord, back to life. 25 Jesus, our Lord, was handed over to death because of our failures and was brought back to life so that we could receive God’s approval. Romans 4:23-25 (GW)
We who have accepted the work of Christ are assured that we will also live with Him. It’s gonna be mind-boggling!
19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. John 14:19 (NIV)
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (NIV)
What does Ascension Day accomplish for those who accept Christ’s work on their behalf?
I was surprised to see that ascension has specific benefits and uncertain as to why I had never understood before just how important it is to inaugurating the indwelling presence and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit and also inaugurating what the church mission on earth really is.
When Jesus ascended and entered the actual presence of God in heaven, He was presenting His once for all offering much like the Old Testament High Priest once a year went into the Holy of Holies (representing God’s presence). That lamb offering was accomplished outside and the blood carried into the Holy of Holies along with incense. (Leviticus 16) While it seems like this cleansing and perfecting and consecrating and making holy happened at the cross, it technically happens when the blood of offering (now Jesus Himself) is presented before God. (photo from pixabay.com)
9 He then went on to say, Behold, [here] I am, coming to do Your will. Thus He does away with and annuls the first (former) order [as a means of expiating sin] so that He might inaugurate and establish the second (latter) order. 10 And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One). 11 Furthermore, every [human] priest stands [at his altar of service] ministering daily, offering the same sacrifices over and over again, which never are able to strip [from every side of us] the sins [that envelop us] and take them away— 12 Whereas this One [Christ], after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 Then to wait until His enemies should be made a stool beneath His feet. 14 For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy. Hebrews 10:9-14 (AMP)
We are given another Helper, the Paraclete who is called alongside us to help us. Jesus had been the Paraclete, called alongside to help the few. Now all can have access. Note that this Paraclete helps us by giving us strength in our inner man and personality. This is the Holy Spirit indwelling us and transforming us. The Corinthian church people were using the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, but Paul told them they acted like mere men; they were not being transformed by the indwelling Holy Spirit!
16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 (NASB) 7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7 (NASB)
16 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. Ephesians 3:16 (AMP)
The empowering Holy Spirit was given after the Ascension, and would come upon the disciples in sudden and unexpected way in a rush that changed things dramatically. Believe me, when that happens to you, you will never be the same and you will certainly never think of the indwelling and the empowering Spirit as one and the same!
49 And behold, I will send forth upon you what My Father has promised; but remain in the city [Jerusalem] until you are clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:49 (AMP)
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he had said this, he was taken to heaven. A cloud hid him so that they could no longer see him. Acts 1:8-9 (GW)
Worship and joy were released. Think back over the years of ministry. I can’t think of a single incident where the disciples worshipped with more than a Wow moment declaring Jesus was truly the Messiah. Now worship is released in greater measure
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, Luke 24:50-52 (NASB)
Jesus advocates for us, reminding Father of the price that He paid. While we could be judged guilty, our Advocate’s assertion ensures that we are not judged for the sin; Jesus took the judgement and it will not happen again.
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 1 John 2:1 (NLT2)
24 But Jesus lives forever, so he serves as a priest forever. 25 That is why he is always able to save those who come to God through him. He can do this because he always lives and intercedes for them. 1 The main point we want to make is this: We do have this kind of chief priest. This chief priest has received the highest position, the throne of majesty in heaven. Hebrews 7:24-25, 8:1 (GW)
You have God’s full approval now. FULL APPROVAL!
1 My dear children, I’m writing this to you so that you will not sin. Yet, if anyone does sin, we have Jesus Christ, who has God’s full approval. He speaks on our behalf when we come into the presence of the Father. 1 John 2:1 (GW)
While satan and all the evil powers are not yet fully defeated, they are subservient to Jesus who was given the authority over them and who then gave it to Christ followers today. (Luke 10:19)
22 [And He] has now entered into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with [all] angels and authorities and powers made subservient to Him. 1 Peter 3:22 (AMP)
Now we complete Christ. Huh? We are empowered to do what He did in even greater numbers. Because He went to the Father. This is our “what’s next.” The question we must ask is if we are doing these things. If not, what stops us? We’ll look into that more in the following weeks.
22 God has put everything under the control of Christ. He has made Christ the head of everything for the good of the church. 23 The church is Christ’s body and completes him as he fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:22-23 (GW) 12 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. John 14:12 (AMP)
I trust that Easter resurrection (and the ascension celebrated on May 30 this year) are much more meaningful and powerful for you now. They are life changing when we fully embrace them. New life begins. What’s next?
Carol Boggess, author and speaker
Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram – a.healing.journey