Jesus Is Who He Says He Is

May 28, 2017

Jesus Is Who He Says He Is

A man just got married and was returning home with his wife. They were crossing a lake in a boat, when suddenly a great storm arose. The man was a warrior, but the woman became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless: The boat was small and the storm was really huge, and any moment they were going to be drowned. But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling and she said, “Are you not afraid? This may be our last moment of life! It doesn’t seem that we will be able to reach the other shore. Only some miracle can save us; otherwise death is certain. Are you not afraid? Are you mad or something? Are you a stone or something?”

The man laughed and took his sword out of its sheath. The woman was even more puzzled: What was he doing? Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman’s neck, so close that just a small gap was there. It was almost touching her neck.

He said, “Are you afraid?” She started to laugh and said, “Why should I be afraid? If the sword is in your hands, why I should be afraid? I know you love me.”

He put the sword back and said, “This is my answer. I know God Loves me, and the storm is in His hands.” SO WHATEVER IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS GOING TO BE GOOD. If we survive, good; if we don’t survive, good; because everything is in His hands and He cannot do anything wrong.

The Moral of this story is: Develop Trust. This is the trust which one needs to develop trust and which is capable of transforming your whole life.

This is the kind of trust the disciples were blessed with after witnessing the ascension of Jesus Christ.

In our reading today, we meet with the disciples in the upper room after the crucifixion. They are in hiding, frightened and confused. Jesus had told them many times that He would suffer many things, including betrayal by one of them, be crucified, die and be raised by His Father three days later. The disciples had moaned and wept that they would never abandon Him. They were ready to die with Him when He stood there with them, healing and teaching. Yet, when the going got tough, they denied Him and hid from the authorities, believing that the story was over. Their dreams, and seemingly their faith had died with Jesus on Golgotha.  They had been told by Mary Magdalene, who had gone to the tomb and seen and spoken with Jesus, that He had risen and she had seen Him. The disciples who had confirmed His absence from the tomb were even confused and unsure as to what had happened to His body. None of the disciples could actually believe without seeing. Did they think that Jesus may not have been who He had claimed to be? Didn’t they trust that Jesus had been telling them the truth? As the hours of the day of His resurrection marched on, two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus encountered the resurrected Jesus, recognizing Him only after He had blessed bread, broken it and offered it to them. In the brief glimpse they had of Him, they were made certain that Jesus Christ had risen and immediately ran back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples. But Jesus appeared to the group of remaining disciples, showing Himself to them before the first two could get there.  When the disciples saw Him, they were terrified, thinking that he was a spirit. Obviously, these disciples hadn’t truly believed that Jesus would be raised from the dead.  In Mark’s description of this moment, Jesus “rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen Him after he had been raised from the dead.”  Jesus encouraged them to touch His body and to look closely at His wounds and asked them for food so they could know without doubt that He was no mere apparition, but a living person. Jesus reminded them that He had told them that all of the things that had happened WOULD happen. Everything written in the Psalms, the Law of Moses and the Prophets must be fulfilled, for those writings came from God himself. He opened their minds so that they would fully understand the scriptures and told them that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which would give them the power to bear witness to all they had seen and make disciples in all the nations. Then, only when He felt they were ready to witness His miraculous return to His Father, did He lead them out to Bethany, bless them, raise His hands and ascend into Heaven, rising through the air before their eyes.

The disciples then worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy and were continually in the temple praising God.

In this account, we are treated to a condensed reassurance of all we believe as Christians. We are assured that Jesus died on the cross, that God brought Him from death back to life, and then took Him up to Heaven to sit at His right hand. We are reminded that Jesus is exactly who He says He is, that we can trust Him to be with us as we do His will on earth.

The ascension of Christ highlights the fact that He has filled us with the Holy Spirit so we can do His work on earth as He advocates for us in Heaven. Jesus’ parting words commissioned His people to make disciples of all people among the nations throughout the earth. We are His people. In Paul’s words:

“For God who said, Let there be light in the darkness, has made His light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that this great power is from God, not ourselves.”

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God But we will continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, ‘I believe in God, so I spoke.’ We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving and God will receive more and more glory.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet, they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Finally, because of the ascension, we know that when we die, we do not face a dark abyss of cold loneliness, but because we know that Jesus is our advocate in Heaven, we can look forward to a life with Him there. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I have gone to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And know the way to where I am going.”

There may be times that we question our faith and wonder if we can really trust in Jesus to get us through the storms of life. There may be times that we find ourselves reluctant confess our faith or be a witness to His love and power.  Let us remember the reassurance of all we believe that is offered by the ascension story. Let us put all of our trust in He who is working for us in Heaven as we do His work on earth. For we can be certain that when our time on earth is done, we will meet Him. Will the way we lived our lives cause Him to ask “Why were you so afraid?” Or will we be blessed to hear our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

Norma Goff