Ascension Devotional

by anthony
May 21, 2020

Ascension Day, the fortieth day after Easter, marks the day on which Jesus went to the Mount of Olives with his disciples and ascended to heaven before their eyes. Though often overlooked, the ascension of Christ is filled with theological significance. Christ’s ascension means that in heaven there is one who, knowing first- hand the experience of suffering and temptation, prays for us and perfects our prayers. The ascension is a witness and guarantee of our own bodily resurrection, as well as an invitation for us to set our hearts and minds “on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1-2) to rule over all things in heaven and throughout the universe (Eph. 1:10, 20-23). Finally, the ascension of Jesus serves as the prelude to Pentecost, when the power of the risen Christ came upon all believers through the Holy Spirit. -The Worship Sourcebook

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The following devotional is a collection of scripture readings, prayers, and songs
to help you consider and meditate upon the Ascension of Jesus. I believe our hearts
need the reminder that Jesus is our reigning King and Advocate, especially when
things in the world seem so uncertain.

Grace and Peace,
Anthony

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Reading – Psalm 47:1-2; 93:1; Hebrews 4:14, 16

Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.
The LORD is king, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved.

Since, then, we have a great high priest
who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to find help in time of need.

Prayer

Eternal God, the king of glory,
you have exalted your only Son
with great triumph to be Lord of all;
leave us not comfortless
but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us,
that we may labor for the coming of your kingdom,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

Jesus Christ, you left your disciples,
that you might send the Holy Spirit
to be our advocate.
Grant us the Spirit of truth
to convince the world
that you are risen from the dead.
Eternal God,
you have given your Son authority
in heaven and on earth;
grant that we may never lose
the vision of his kingdom
but serve him with hope and joy. Amen.

Reading – Acts 1:1-11

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Prayer

Almighty God,
we thank you that you have highly exalted your Son, Jesus Christ.
Before him every knee shall bow
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord.
He has made captivity itself a captive;
and has given gifts to his people.
We rejoice that Jesus Christ,
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
has triumphed most gloriously
and is our Lord.
Bring us at last into your presence,
so that we can live and praise you together with all the saints
forever and ever. Amen.
—based on Ephesians 4:8; Philippians 2:10-11; Hebrews 12:2

Confession and Assurance

While we claim to celebrate the ascension of our Lord, the way we live proclaims our lack of faith
in his power to deal with the world. Let us confess the incongruity between our faith and practice.

We come, O Lord, on this day of glory to confess our lack of trust.
While we sing of your lordship over all creation,
we have too often acted as though you are powerless
in the face of today’s events.
Help us to live with confidence in your presence today
and in hope for life with you forever. Amen.

This is the good news of the gospel:
God, who is rich in mercy,
out of the great love with which he loved us
even when we were dead through our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ—
by grace you have been saved—
and raised us up with him and seated us with him
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the ages to come he might show
the immeasurable riches of his grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
In Christ, by God’s grace, we are saved.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

—based on Ephesians 2:4-7

Proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s Ascension
—from Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A’s 46-47, 49-52

Christ, while his disciples watched,
was lifted up from the earth to heaven.
He will be there for our good until he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

Christ is truly human and truly God.
In his human nature Christ is not now on earth; but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit
he is not absent from us for a moment.

Christ pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of his Father.
We have our own flesh in heaven—
a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, his members, to himself in heaven.

Christ sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee.
By the Spirit’s power we make the goal of our lives
not earthly things but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

Christ is seated at the right hand of God
to show that he is head of his church
and that the Father rules all things through him.
Through his Holy Spirit he pours out his gifts from heaven upon us his members,
and by his power he defends us and keeps us safe from all enemies.

In all our distress and persecution
we turn our eyes to the heavens
and confidently await as judge the very One
who has already stood trial in our place before God
and so has removed the whole curse from us.
All his enemies and ours
he will condemn to everlasting punishment:
but all his chosen ones
he will take along with him
into the joy and the glory of heaven.

 

Grace and peace to you
from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—
to him be glory and power for ever and ever!
Amen.

—Revelation 1:4-6

Additional Resources

Additional Songs

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Previously at Trinity

Joe Mullen preached on The Hero at God's Right Hand

SERMON TEXT: Psalm 80

TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA (PCA)

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(828) 299-3433 | info@trinityasheville.com

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