Tag Archives: the book of Luke

Ascension Day

“And he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.  Amen.”  (Luke 24:50-53, NIV)

For the disciples of Jesus, Jerusalem had been the site of many tragic events over the previous days.  In fact, with the death of Jesus, it seemed that all of their dreams had been dashed; and that all of their plans had been trashed.

In the light of the Resurrection, however, they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” We can only imagine what the outsiders must have thought about the disciples of Jesus as they saw them in the temple; joyful and praising and blessing God.  Perhaps they thought: “Aren’t these the disciples of the man who was crucified on Friday? Why is it that they are now so bright and optimistic?”

The answer, then as now, is this: He lives!

The Resurrection of our Lord trumps every sorrow and redeems every failure. The Resurrection enables us to return to the scene of our greatest humiliation with great joy and confidence.  To live in the light of the Resurrection is to truly live!  – Luther

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“’Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.'”  (Luke 18: 29-20, NIV)

While some may classify these words of Jesus as a “hard saying”; in reality these words are some of the most gracious in all of the bible.

There is a worthy tale that illustrates what Jesus is saying: A rich man had a son who painted a self-portrait.  Though no one would ever mistake the painting as the work of a skilled artist, the father treasured this painting above all else, because the son — who was his sole heir — had been killed in war and the painting was a reminder of his beloved son.

In his will, the rich man required that the painting be sold at auction with all of his other possessions.  On the day of the auction, estate agents and bargain hunters from far and wide converged at the rich man’s estate for the sale.  The first item up for bid was the son’s self-portrait.  The crowd grumbled.  They had not traveled to the sale to bid on the work of a third-rate artist.  They were there there to buy houses, land, livestock, and fine furniture!

At first, no one wanted to bid on the painting, but the auctioneer made it clear that in accordance with the rich man’s will, the painting must be sold ahead of all other property.  So, to move along the process, one person made a small bid for the portrait.  Hearing no other bids, the auctioneer  said, “Sold!” to the lone bidder, then added, “You’ve just purchased the entire estate: Houses, land, livestock, and fine furniture.  The lot is yours.”

The crowd was stunned.

The executor of the rich man’s estate appeared at the podium to address the unhappy gathering of would-be buyers, and said, “In accordance with the desires of the father, the person who gets the son, gets it all.”

We can make our lives “a la carte” and risk missing the One; or we can take the One above all others and ahead of all else — and having gotten the Son, get it all.  As Jesus taught us: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all of these [other] things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)  – Luther

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