Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On Christ's asscension

Here are some quotes to mediate on:

1. “How does Christ’s ascension into heaven benefit
First, He is our Advocate in heaven before
His Father. [Rom 8:34; I John 2:1]
Second, we have our flesh in heaven as a sure
pledge that He, our Head, will also take us, His
members, up to Himself. [ John 14:2; 17:24;
Ephes 2:4-6]
Third, He sends us His Spirit as a counterpledge,[
John 14:16; Acts 2:33; 2 Cor 1:21, 22;
5:5] by whose power we seek the things that are
above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand
of God, and not the things that are on earth.
[Col 3:1-4]”
(Heidelberg Cathechism, Question 49

2. “The ascension further means that in returning
to God, the Risen One takes along the fullness
of human life experienced by Jesus, including
the worst of earthly agony. Christians have
no good reason for doubting that God understands
in the most personal possible way our
human struggle, sorrows, and defeats. The God
who came into our midst as a baby and dwelt
among us experienced all things, even to the
most severe forms of oppression and suffering;
that experience was not a transitory episode to
be forgotten by God after thirty years. No, that
experience is carried into heaven, that we may
know the Most High identifies always even with
the least and the lowest.
That is the import of what is otherwise to us
the strange language of the Letter to the Hebrews:
For it is clear that [Jesus] did not come to
help angels, but the descendants of Abraham.
Therefore he had to become like his brothers
and sisters in every respect, so that he might
be a merciful and faithful high priest in the
service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement
for the sins of the people. Because he
himself was tested by what he suffered, he is
able to help those who are being tested.
Since, then, we have a great high priest
who has passed through the heavens, Jesus,
the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession
[of faith]. For we do not have a high
priest who is unable to sympathize with our
weaknesses, but we have one who in every
respect has been tested as we are, yet without
sin. Let us therefore approach the throne
of grace with boldness, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help in time of
need. (4:14-16)
When celebrated in its fullness, the ascension is a
source of great strength to all who suffer.”
(Laurence Hill Stookey, Calendar: Christ’s Time
for the Church, 70-71)

3. “In Jesus Christ we are given more than the creative
mould for our human responses, we are
provided with the very essence and core of
man’s worship of God. In His life, death, resurrection
and ascension He offered Himself
through the eternal Spirit in our name and on
our behalf, presenting us in Himself to the Father,
once and for all, so that He remains for
ever our sole offering in deed and word with
which we appear before God. We do not draw near to God in worship either with our own selfexpression
or empty handed, but with hands of
faith filled with the self-oblation of Christ, for He
constitutes in His vicarious humanity the eloquent
reality of our worship.”
(Thomas F. Torrance, “The Word of God and
the Response of Man,” God and Rationality, 157

4. “We do not appear with our gifts in the presence
of God without an intercessor. Christ is our Mediator,
by whose intervention we offer ourselves
and our all to the Father; he is our High Priest,
who, having entered into the upper sanctuary,
opens up an access for us; he is the altar on
which we lay our gifts.”
(Bryan D. Spinks, “The Ascension and the Vicarious
Humanity of Christ,” Time and Country

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