Sunday, April 13, 2008

April 14, 2008

A God withGod moment:

Remember friends, Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church) is approaching. Ever since Easter, we’ve been moving toward this climactic event asthe fulfillment of Jesus’ richest promise. (As an aside, it may only seem like you are inching, but this time of the semester, any movement forward is a true blessing).

Here are Jesus’ closing words and deeds in Luke’s Gospel: Luke 24:49-53
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24:49-53)

Just a few observations. First, this is not only the end of Luke, it is the zenith. The story of Luke began in Chapter 1 with Zechariah meeting an angel in the temple, and not believing the words being spoken. All of Luke has been pointing to this very place, true temple worship, continually not erratically or only occasionally.

Second, note that Jesus has now ascended to heaven. Think of the significance this way; earth was forever changed in Luke 2 with the Incarnation. Now heaven is equally enhanced for the Incarnation eternally lives on in the Resurrected Jesus. And He now stands at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56), making intercession for us. So, not only is heaven changed, but with Jesus praying for us, our lives on earth are indeed soon to be changed as well.

Third, just before leaving this earth, Jesus blesses the disciples. What a powerful word which can easily be reduced to a “benediction” at the close of a Worship service. Maybe the best way to conceptualize the term "blessing" would be to hear the initial series of blessings that come from the lips of God Himself. In the Creation story of Genesis, God blesses mankind as He creates the man and the woman (1:28). Also in the climax act of Creation, He sanctifies the Sabbath day and blesses it (Genesis 2:3). Friends, just as God blesses the earth at the moment of Creation, Jesus equally blesses the world at the time of re-Creation.

Thus, as we prepare to celebrate Pentecost as the high point of Jesus’ re-creative work; let’s not minimize its impact. It’s much more than being touched by the Spirit. It is being completely remade in His Image, the Imago Dei. Maybe the best parallel of what the reality of Pentecost is comes from Genesis 2, “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” So, this Pentecost (May 11) as God breathes upon the Church, remember, He really is the air that we breathe.

Lord Jesus;
This last full week of the semester, we need Your blessing.
Would you please whisper into the Father’s ear on our behalf.
Would you speak our name in heaven
So we may be recreated here on earth
to live our lives as you did.

Now, Go with God.


Jason F. said...

Dave, lately I have been reading Luke and Acts as one cohesive body of work. I like where Luke leaves off and seems to pick up in Acts, as one would see a movie with an intermission. I'm giving the models of Christ represented in each Gospel to my students right now, but I haven't brought up the any connection of Luke and Acts yet. Would you suggest that I make this link, leave it alone, or a least toss the idea to my students? I'm just not sure.

-Jason Farrell

Dave Smith said...

Best thought comes in the opening lines of Acts:
Acts 1:1-2 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

It seems as if Luke is only telling the beginning of Jesus' doing and teaching. The rest of the story of Jesus' work is to be told in the rest of Acts. Thus, we can actually learn about Christ as He lives out ina and thru the Body. Remember how Paul describes this as Jesus is the head and we are the body, etc?