Bible verses: Luke 24:50-52/Acts 1:6-11, Hebrews 4:14-16
We want our people to understand that the Easter story doesn’t stop when Jesus dies and rises from the dead. You are invited into the death of Jesus through repentance and water baptism. The power of the ascension story is vital to understanding the mission of God. Jesus had to go (ascend into the holy of holies) so that we might live in the power of the Spirit ourselves. We want our people to feel empowered that the ascension gifts are the passing of the baton, now it’s our turn! The book of Acts which we will study next is the fulfilment of the mission of Jesus by his people.
The story of Easter – how God saves is incomplete if we do not preach the ascension of Jesus. The ascension is the final instalment in the cosmic drama of the atonement. Without it, the sacrifice of Jesus is left unaccepted. It is precisely through his entrance into of the holy of holies that Jesus secures atonement for humanity (1 Pet. 2:4-5), and his offering was accepted by the Father through the ascension (Heb 10:12) into the Holy of Holies (Heb. 9:23-26).
Hebrews treats the ascension of Jesus Christ as an equally important part of God’s accomplishment of redemption in and through Jesus. As well as the establishment of Jesus as the High Priest. Humanity needs the incarnate, glorified Jesus to go before God the Father so that we might draw near to the Father ourselves.
The ascension of Jesus is important for the sending of the Spirit. Most simply, if there is no acceptance of the sacrifice – there is no need for the Spirit to indwell and empower the saints. But Jesus insists, it is better that he goes. (Jn. 16:7)
Recalling what we said about the Holy Spirit’s role in regenerating the heart of believers, the Holy Spirit has always been with humanity – now, thanks to Jesus’ final completion of the atonement, the Holy Spirit can dwell in humanity.
Perplexingly, Jesus’ death brings life. This is a life that you can have too!
You are invited into the death of Jesus through repentance and water baptism.
Why does he dwell in us? For empowerment. (Lk. 24:49, Acts 1:4) For mission: Go into all the world and preach the gospel! Which leads to the next campaign all about actioning our faith: Church in the Wild (the book of Acts).
- John 16:7
- Hebrews 8:1-2
- Hebrews 9:11-12, 23-24
- Psalm 8
Connect Group Resources:
Connect Group Discussion Questions:
- Consider that the triune God is on your side. Jesus is our great high priest in heaven, the Holy Spirit lives within us and the Father is in control (whatever the news may tell you!). Share any thoughts or experiences you have to encourage the group, of being surrounded by God, His presence, His love and knowing that nothing can snatch us from His hand.
- What does the resurrection mean to you?
- What is your next step? Is it water baptism? Or baptised in the Spirit? Or being filled with the Spirit again? We have been given a job to do, but also a helper!
- As we move on from focusing on Jesus’ acts, to the acts of the church, what is our next step with the Holy Spirit? It might be working on identifying spiritual gifts or taking a step to use those spiritual gifts.
- What weapons or tools does the indwelling Holy Spirit give us to help other people and spread the gospel message?
- How can we use them this week?