(The following is taken from Bishop J.C. Ryle's commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke. He is here commenting on Christ's Ascension as recorded in St. Luke 24:50-53)
THESE verses are the winding up of St. Luke's history of our Lord's ministry. They form a suitable conclusion to a Gospel, which in touching tenderness and full exhibition of Christ's grace, stands first among the four records of the things which Jesus did and taught ( Acts 1:1).
Let us notice, firstly, in this passage the remarkable manner in which our Lord left His disciples. We read that “He lifted up His hands and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them.” In one word, He left them when in the very act of blessing.
We cannot for a moment doubt that there was a meaning in this circumstance. It was intended to remind the disciples of all that Jesus had brought with Him when He came into the world. It was intended to assure them of what He would yet do, after He left the world. He came on earth to bless and not to curse, and blessing He departed. He came in love and not in anger, and in love He went away. He came not as a condemning judge, but as a compassionate Friend, and as a Friend He returned to His Father. He had been a Saviour full of blessings to His little flock while He had been with them. He would be a Saviour full of blessings to them, He would have them know, even after He was taken away.
For ever let our souls lean on the gracious heart of Christ, if we know anything of true religion. We shall never find a heart more tender, more loving, more patient, more compassionate, and more kind. To talk of the Virgin Mary as being more compassionate than Christ is proof of miserable ignorance. To flee to the saints for comfort, when we may flee to Christ, is an act of mingled stupidity and blasphemy, and a robbery of Christ's crown. Gracious was our Lord Jesus while He lived among His weak disciples, gracious in the very season of His agony on the cross, gracious when He rose again and gathered His scattered sheep around Him, gracious in the manner of His departure from this world. It was a departure in the very act of blessing! Gracious, we may be assured, he is at the right hand of God. He is the same yesterday, today, and for ever, a Saviour ever ready to bless, abounding in blessings.
Let us notice, secondly, in this passage, the place to which our Lord went when He left the world . We read that He was “carried up into heaven.”
The full meaning of these words we cannot of course comprehend. It would be easy to ask questions about the exact residence of Christ's glorified body, which the wisest theologian could never answer. We must not waste our time in unedifying speculations, or ‘intrude into things unseen' ( Col. 2:18). Let it suffice us to know that our Lord Jesus Christ is gone into the presence of God on behalf of all who believe on Him, as a Forerunner and a High Priest ( Heb . 6:20; John 14:2).
As a Forerunner, Jesus has gone into heaven to prepare a place for all His members. Our great Head has taken possession of a glorious inheritance in behalf of His mystical body, and holds it as an elder brother and trustee, until the day comes when His body shall be perfected. As a High Priest, Jesus has gone into heaven to intercede for all who believe on Him. There in the holy of the holies He presents on their behalf the merit of His own sacrifice, and obtains for them daily supplies of the mercy and grace. The grand secret of the perseverance of saints is the Christ appearance for them in heaven. They have an everlasting Advocate with the Father, and therefore they are never cast away ( Heb . 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
A day will come when Jesus shall return from heaven, in like manner as He went. He will not always abide within the holy of holies. He will come forth, like the Jewish high priest, to bless the people, to gather His saints together, and to restore all things ( Lev . 9:23; Acts 3:21) For that day let us wait, and long, and pray. Christ dying on the cross for sinners, Christ living in heaven to intercede, Christ coming again in glory, are three great objects which ought to stand out prominently before the eyes of every true Christian.
-Taken from Expository Thoughts on Luke by Bishop J.C Ryle
Pub. by The Banner of the Truth Trust
Thank you to all the ladies who brought salad or bread, and especially, thank you to all those who were hostesses and made the soups for the Lenten suppers. We appreciate all who attended the services.
The Women's Guild collected favorite recipes to make a Church Cookbook. Tutu Balogun hopes to get it made and ready to sell by the Annual Rummage Sale to raise money for missions. We thank Sunny Stiklius for getting the recipes ready for print.
We thank Sara Hassert for organizing an Easter Egg Hunt for the Sunday School children. The Easter Breakfast was delicious! Thank you to all who prepared the food. The Choir sang some amazing Easter songs at the Holy Communion Service along with the children who sang: “There's Only One Way”, and “Alive, Alive”.
We thank those who helped beautify the chapel on Easter with lilies in honor or memory of loved ones.
Annual Parish Meeting was Sunday, April 27, 2014. A Pot Luck Luncheon was enjoyed by everyone before the meeting. Thank you to our cooks! We appreciate our church staff, the reports and all who attended the meeting.
“The Last Supper” play was postponed until Holy Week 2015 as a Fund-Raiser for Love INC.
Church Family Pictorial Directory
Please see Rev. Levi and get your singles picture or family picture taken. Thank you! We would like to get everyone's picture done by the end of May. Ask pastor on any Sunday in May to take your picture.
Saturday, May 3, 2014 beginning at 9:30 a.m.
“For The Beauty of the Earth”
(2nd & 4th Sundays of the month)
May 11 & 25, 2014 from 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Hand Chime Practice
1st & 3rd Thursdays through June directed by Sunny Stiklius
June 11-13, 2014 in Blue Bell , PA
ST. ANDREW'S PRESCHOOL BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT
Preschool Sale of Equipment in August 2014
MISSION WORK OF THE MONTH
Please pray for The Rev. Rinzi Lama, president of the Anglican Church of Nepal (ACN) and for all the churches there: The established parish of Nazarene Anglican Church (NAC) in Kathmandu; a daughter church of NAC in Nuwakot; and the Berea Anglican Church, which is another NAC church plant in Kathmandu.