40 Bible Stories #34: Until the Day We are Taken Up!

Ascension-painting-Easter-Galilee-Jesus

Act 1:1-3

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
(NIV1984)

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“I’m going to Disneyworld!”  Ever since that 1987 commercial asking Phil Simms what was next after winning the Super Bowl, we have heard countless athletes, celebrities and even American Idol winners declare that after their great feats, it was time for Disneyworld.  Rest.  Celebration. Time away.  An escape.  This is the message of the commercial.  I have won.  I have accomplished what I set out to do.  I have been victorious.  Now, it’s time to sit back, relax, and take it easy.

Of course, back then there was no such thing as Disneyworld, but I don’t think it would have mattered.  We never would have heard that phrase from Jesus Christ after winning the greatest battle of all-time defeating sin, death, and Hell and reminding Satan that he was no match for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  When Christ won His battle and accomplished what He had been sent to do, there was no relaxation.  There was no sitting back on the shores of the Sea of Galilee sipping a glass of elegant well-aged wine.  In fact, at the Last Supper, Christ said He would not partake of that celebration again until we meet Him in His Father’s Kingdom. (Matthew 26:29)

Instead, we see how He continues to teach, preach, love, perform miracles, and serve humanity with the Agape Love that He is until the day He was taken up to Heaven.  For forty days, He appeared after His resurrection working, not resting, not relaxing, but working still in the form of a servant.  Forty days is a time period we hear a lot about in Scripture.  Noah endured forty days and nights of flood rains.  Moses stayed on the mountain for forty days with God.  The Israelites wandered the desert for forty years.  Christ was led into the desert to be tempted for forty days without food or water.  And now, we see that after His great victory, He did not take His Super Bowl ring to Disneyworld. No, He kept working.  Forty days symbolizes periods of testing and spiritual work striving to do God’s will in very difficult situations.  We do not know much about these forty days, but we do know that those who wanted Him dead did everything they could even bribing officials to lie and say that the body was stolen to keep people from believing that this man rose from the dead as He prophesied He would do.  If they pursued Him before the cross and if they pursued Him reputation when His body turned up missing, how much more did they seek to harm Him when they began to hear people saying they had seen Jesus, resurrected?

He did not rest.  He did not rest during the three years of His ministry.  He did not rest the three days between His death and His resurrection, He went into the depths of the earth to preach to the spirits (Matthew 12:40, 1 Peter 3:19).  Even today, He is hard at work interceding for you and for me. (Romans 8:34)  He is tireless.  He has never rested on His laurels.  And isn’t He the example we should follow.  We should never rest in the work we have been called to.  First and foremost, we are servants of the Most High God.  His mission given to us should consume our thoughts and efforts until the day we, too, are taken up into Heaven.  Each day and each night, should we not be hard at work in the business of the Father.  Whether we are going door to door to evangelize, taking time to show the love of God to our family at a Family Game Night or praying with a neighbor who is going through a difficult time, we are servants. Though we rest in Christ, we do not rest from our spiritual labor.  Rest will come soon enough.  Scripture says (Revelation 14:13) the dead will rest from their labor, but for now, let us work for our Master.  We do not work for Him out of obligation, but with overwhelming gratitude for all He has done for us.  And we shall work until the day we are taken up to Heaven to the glory of God!

Pastor Lee is the Lead Pastor at CrossRoads Community Church in San Antonio, Texas. His message focuses on the healing power of Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Father of three awesome sons and he is madly in love with his wife, Amy. And his favorite past time is losing golf balls in the rough while attempting to play a round of golf.

Posted in 40 Bible Stories Devotion, faithfulness, Leadership, Obedience, Serving, Thanksgiving Tagged with: , , , , ,
One comment on “40 Bible Stories #34: Until the Day We are Taken Up!
  1. Priscilla says:

    This is a great encouragement to keep on the mission God created us for, not doing things as the world does but as Christ does.

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