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Devotional: August 1st
"So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." Mark 16:19
The circumstance of the Lord’’s ascension and exaltation meets with frequent and marked allusion in the word of God. The Holy Spirit has attached to the fact the greatest weight. The writings of the Old Testament frequently and distinctly speak of it. Thus, in Psalms 47:5, "God is gone up with a shout; the Lord with the sound of a trumpet." It is impossible to misunderstand the obvious allusion of these words. He came down as God; He went up as "God manifest in the flesh." The ascension was worthy of His Deity. It was royal and triumphant. He went up as a "great King," and as a mighty Conqueror, "leading captivity captive." Attended by a celestial escort, and amid the shouts and acclamations of all the heavenly hierarchy, He passed within the portals of glory. The demand was made, the challenge was given, the answer was returned: "Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be you lift up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty-the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; even lift them up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory." Yes, our Immanuel, God with us, is "gone up with a shout;" the Lord, JEHOVAH-JESUS, "with the sound of a trumpet." And although no echo of the heavenly minstrelsy was heard on earth, and the cloud which received Him veiled His receding form from the gaze of His disciples, hiding from the view the deepening glory which encircled His ascending flight, yet all heaven reverberated with the song, and grew resplendent with the majesty of His entrance within its gates.
The scene and the circumstances of our Lord’’s ascension were of thrilling interest, and deeply spiritual in their meaning. The period, which it is important distinctly to specify, was just forty days after His resurrection; thus affording ample time to establish, by the most irrefragable proof and tangible evidence, this master-fact of His history. Not only did He take this occasion to answer all the reasonings, and resolve all the doubts, of His still incredulous disciples, but He crowded into this brief space of time instructions the most needed, precious, and momentous to the well-being of His church. Drawing closer around Him, as if by the new and more powerful attraction of His risen body, His devoted apostles-the future builders of His spiritual temple-He proceeds to renew their divine commission to preach the gospel, widening it to the exigencies of the world that gospel was intended to bless. Opening their understandings more perfectly to understand the Scriptures, He cleared and enlarged their view of His Divine nature, the spiritual character of His kingdom, and the offices, ordinances, and discipline which were to be observed in each gospel-constituted section of His church. Thus, even after His atoning work was finished, and the great seal of heaven was affixed to it, our adorable Lord was still engaged in His Father’’s business, still intent upon promoting His glory, and the eternal welfare of His people. Oh, what love was the love of our Immanuel!
Let us now ascend in spirit with Jesus, and contemplate the glory of His exaltation. His entrance into heaven was the signal for the full development of His mediatorial power and glory. This was the promise of His Father, and this the reward of His death. "I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion." "Unto the Son He says, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever." "I appoint unto you," says Christ, "a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto me." Thus His exaltation at the right hand of the Father was His full induction into His mediatorial kingdom. Now was He exalted "heir of all things"-now were "all things put under His feet"-now "all power in heaven and on earth was given to Him;" and from that moment that He touched the crown, and grasped the scepter, and the government was placed upon His shoulder, His truth was to advance, and His kingdom widen, with ever-growing power, until, supplanting all error, and subduing all kingdoms, He was to reign "King of kings and Lord of lords."
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18
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