Ascension Is For You!
Ascension Day
25 May 2017
The Lord Jesus has been exalted in His ascension so that He sits at the right hand of His Father and shares the kingly reign (see Revealed Later). His exaltation, like His humiliation has a "for you" character about it. His visible ascension and exaltation to the right hand of God is not for His good, for all that it confers He always possessed by reason of His divine nature. During His earthly ministry He graciously declined to make full use of His divine honor and glory so that He could bear the cross for us sinners (Php 2:6-8). Now He ascends that He might be seen to be in possession of full divine honor and glory by us, His poor priestly band. He ascends visibly for our instruction and comfort. He has mounted up to lead our captivity captive (Eph 4:8).
 
This exaltation is also conferred on His human nature by reason of the personal union. Full divine honor and glory are received by Christ at His ascension and seating at the right hand of God according to His human nature. Thus He receives what He always had. 

This enthronement of the human nature of Christ to the right hand of God is an exaltation of our poor human nature born of Mary, our mother. Thus the ascension not only teaches that we have a Lord who has comprehended all things in Himself (Eph 1:22-23), but also that through His ascension He has placed our own human nature in the heavenly realm. He does this entirely for our sakes. We now look upon the ascension as the accession of our own nature to heaven and eternal glory. Just as the resurrection gives us the life of Christ, though unseen, so His ascension places us with our Father in heaven, though unseen. The "for you" is as crucial on Ascension as it is in Holy Week.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"When David says, 'Sit at My right hand' (Ps 110:2), in effect he says: 'Sit on a royal throne, rule, and be Lord and King.' Where? On the throne and in the house of David, say the prophet Isaiah (Is 9:7) and the angel Gabriel (Lk 1:32), according to the promise made to David. But here David is far more exalted and precise. Instead of saying: 'The Lord has said, "Sit on David's throne," or, "Be David's heir,"' he says: 'Sit at My right hand.'
 
"One word exalts Him to the position of a glorious King! Not over that beggarly palace in Jerusalem or the imperial throne of Babylon, Rome, or Constantinople, or the whole earth-which would indeed represent tremendous power. Not merely king of the heavens, the stars, and anything else the eye can see! This is something far higher and more important, for it means: 'Sit next to Me on the exalted throne upon which I sit, and be My equal!' To sit next to Him-at His right hand, not at His feet-means to possess the very majesty and power that is called divine. Surely, by this one short word Christ is raised from the earth and exalted above all the heavens, as St. Paul says (Eph 4:10, Php 2:9-10), and becomes a King inconceivably glorious and of unspeakable power.
 
"Would it not have been enough for him to say (as the Jews always have in the past and still do) that He is to sit on David's throne, rule in his house, and increase the power of His kingdom to such a degree that all others must fear Him, so that in the end all other kingdoms become subject to Him? How does it happen that suddenly He is exalted above all measure, so as to be seated at once at the right hand of Majesty, in order to sit and rule where God is? I would have expected that God would seat Him where the psalm was composed, a matter about which David had been informed previously, so as to allow Him to remain a human being on earth, to rule over men as a king, as it is written about Him in other psalms. But merely to be a lord and king of all kings on earth is too much of a trifle for him. David wants Him to be praised, acknowledged, and honored, to ascend and sit on high above all angels, where God Himself sits. He is not merely a king who rules over all men, but one who is above the heavens, angels, and anything else that is subject to God. Even the angels must call Him their Lord, which they also do according to Luke 2 [:11].
 
"But who can speak thus of Christ and prophesy so powerfully of His ascension and kingdom? Who can grasp this fully and believe it even now, after the definite and clear statement of the holy prophet has been fulfilled, not to mention the time before these events happened? Nevertheless, this is the reason why David correctly and fittingly praises Him as his Lord, why it is right that David and all kings and lords, indeed the whole world and, as Scripture also says (Heb 1:6), all angels are to worship Him. Anyway, what do all the kings and princes amount to, with all their power and authority, when compared with this One who rules seated on the throne of the Divine Majesty? They are poor beggars and miserable men, unable to help or save themselves even in small matters which concern this temporal life!"

Martin Luther, Commentary on Psalm 110, 1
Ephesians 1:15-23

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (ESV)
Prayer
Almighty God, as Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
 
For all those who have been deprived of Ascension Day joy by neglect of the "for you" message of the work of Christ our Lord, that they might receive comfort and joy on this great feast day
 
For Scott Murray as he prepares to serve at the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany, that he might share the good news with those who will visit there
 
For those who are suffering inclement weather, that the Lord would rescue them from all harm
Art: GAROFALO,  Ascension of Christ (1510-1520)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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