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Minister

From the Minister

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Thought For The Day Ascension Day




ASCENSION DAY THURSDAY 21st MAY

For the last few days I have not posted a thought. This is because I have not had one, and to paraphrase an old northern expression: “When you have nowt to say then say nowt and thank God for the opportunity”.

Today is Ascension Day and I have something to say – so I am saying it. In my “Thoughts for the Day” (which may not be everyday) I am going to follow the disciples through the Acts of the Apostles, to see the building of the early church. We have been given an opportunity by the lockdown – to look once again at how we do “church”. We do not have to go back to what it was before the lockdown. What can we learn from the account of the early church to help us when the restrictions are over? In God’s strength and guidance let us not simply slip back into the old ways, but take the lessons learnt during this time of isolation to build the church for the twenty-first century. A church that will be a witness to Jesus in Newbridge, all of Powys and Wales, and even to the ends of the earth.

Ascension Day marks the last time that the Apostles meet with Jesus before he ascends into heaven. It is not the last time that the Apostles meet with Jesus. Ascension marks the end of one phase of Jesus’ ministry and the beginning of a new one. While Jesus lived in a human body, he could only be seen and known to those who were physically in the same place as him. The same can be said of Jesus during his resurrection appearances. Jesus’ ascension into heaven marks the beginning of a new age, a spiritual age, where Jesus does not have to be physically present in order to be with people. We are the beneficiaries of that age, because we know the presence of Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. The promise of Jesus that he will never leave us is true, and something that we can and do experience.

In this final meeting, the disciples ask a question which shows that they still have not quite grasped the message, “Lord are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel”. Jesus answers them kindly; it is not for them to know the time and dates. In days to come the disciples will start to recognise that the Kingdom of Jesus is much, much bigger than just Israel.

Jesus says two things to the disciples: the first is that they will have a new experience of him when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. The second is that this new experience will equip them to fulfil the commission that he gives them. They are going to be the witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

After this Jesus is taken up, and he is hidden by the clouds as the disciples look on, presumably amazed. Two men, presumably angels, appear and tell the disciples that just as he was taken up into the clouds, so he will return from the heavens.

As I said, we are the beneficiaries of the new age. The Spirit of God has descended upon us, not just as a blessing to ourselves, but to equip us in our part of the great commission, to be witnesses to Jesus to the ends of the earth. And not just to the ends of the earth, but to the end of the age, when Jesus will come back in glory.



Steve Wallis



 
Newbridge Baptist Church
Llanafan Road, Newbridge, Powys, LD1 6LY
Telephone The Minister: 01597 860185
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Updated September 6th, 2020
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