The Passion of Christ in the Writings of Luke: The Ascension of Christ
Scripture: Acts 1:1–1:11
Key Truth: Jesus Christ in his exaltation in his ascension provides the gift of the Holy Spirit and the promise of his return to equip the saints to bear witness to the kingdom of God.
Q: What is your purpose in life? What defines and develops your answer?
“Q. 28. Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation?
A. Christ’s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.”
The Message of the Mission: The Kingdom of God:
“Jesus introduces a new understanding of the kingdom: it is religious-ethical not political; it is present in repentance, faith, and rebirth, and it is yet to come as a full eschatological reality. The God of Israel, whom Jesus recognizes and confesses as his God, is above all king , the Lord of heaven and earth. But he is also Father in heaven, whose kingly rule is a Father over his children; his kingdom is simultaneously a family, a community. Kingship and the fatherhood of God do not compete but reinforce each other. The kingdom must both be sought and received as a gift that has as its content the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and eternal life.”
Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics
Q: What is your view of the kingdom of God? Is it biblical?
The Means of the Mission: The Gift of the Holy Spirit:
“The growth of the kingdom is a growth in the extent to which it is populated. What grows is the number of people who gladly acknowledge the rule of Christ and so experience that rule as a rule of blessing and freedom.”
Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow,
The Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God
Q: Why have we been empowered with the Holy Spirit and remain between the ages?
The Hope of the Mission: The Ascension and the Promise of the Return
“The Second Advent of Christ will coincide with the final and complete manifestation of the kingdom, when every knee will bow in His name and every tongue confess Him as Lord, when God’s will is to be done on earth as it is done in heaven. At Christ’s first coming the age to come invaded this present age; at His second coming the age to come will have altogether superseded this present age. Between the two comings the two ages overlap; Christians live temporally in this present age while spiritually they belong to the heavenly kingdom and enjoy the life of the age to come.”
F. F. Bruce, Commentary on The Book of the Acts
Q: How does the return of Christ affect your ministry between the now and the not yet?
“What would change if churches took more seriously Luke’s message- the Holy Spirit’s message-that the life of the church is the continuing ‘teaching and doing’ ministry of Jesus Christ, the risen and exalted Lord?...Jesus is here, teaching and doing, preaching and performing the saving work of God through his Spirit-gifted people he gives to his church...How will (this) affect our hopes for the resolution of conflict in the church, our hopes for the fruit of sharing our faith with others, our hope for the discipling of the world’s peoples through missions? Because our King is not an aloof designer or absentee landlord, but a living Shepherd walking among his sheep, there is hope for change in the church beyond anything human ingenuity can invent.”
Dennis E. Johnson, The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption
Jesus Christ in his exaltation in his ascension:
- grants the message of the mission in the kingdom of God
- provides the Holy Spirit and witnesses as the means of the mission
- promises the return as the hope of the mission