A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Upcoming Sunday Scripture Commentary - May 17 (Ascension Sunday)

Sermon (May 17) - "What Are We Confirming?"

Ephesians 1:15-23

Verses 15-19 - References their faith in Christ and their love for the saints
Verses 20-23 - References God's mighty working in Jesus Christ

This opening prayer of the letter invites the reader to comprehend who God is. This is made possible through God's self-disclosure.

Because of this comprehension, we have joy and hope at work in our lives.

V. 19 refers to "a great power" which is a theme of Jesus' ascension when he "ascended" his throne in heaven. This passage goes on to refer to how Christ has been exalted. Paul wants the church to know that Christ is head of the church.

Thoughts: What does it mean for us to celebrate Christ's exaltation over all things, including the church? How does this impact our daily living? What does this mean for the church?

Luke 24:44-53

Ascension Day (always on a Thursday, the 40th day following Easter Sunday) but celebrated in the church the Sunday after Ascension Day is an important holy day on the church calendar. It's a day to celebrate that Christ has been exalted through his ascension to the heavenly throne.

Luke wants us to know that Jesus' ascension leads us to be joyful. Even though Jesus left the disciples to be exalted, they knew that Jesus was the true ruler of the world.

Just before his ascension, Jesus' commissions his disciples to be his witnesses. This will not depend on our strength or abilities but upon the Holy Spirit who will come to empower the disciples.

The ascension of Jesus is not about Jesus zooming up to heaven, it's about Jesus ascending his throne to be the true king and lord over all creation. People living during this time would understand this deeper meaning since they knew of Roman emperors who ascended their throne in coming to power.

[Note: The resources used for these scripture reading commentaries are based on the Everyone series by NT Wright, Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, The Wesley Study Bible, and the “Montreal-Anglican”lectionary commentaries.]

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