CAST Voices Devotion: Ascension Day
25 May 2017
By Jean-Ray Knighton Fitt
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you all the time until the end of the age.
Today is Ascension Day – and these words are the very last ones Jesus spoke to his disciples on that day before he ascended into heaven. This is how Jesus handed over of the baton of messianic ministry from Himself to us.
On Tuesday we talked about God’s intention to bring blessing to all nations through the seed of Abraham—while we realise the seed of Abraham refers to the nation of Israel, the New Testament tells us that it refers particularly to Jesus.
But on Ascension Day we realise something else: that when Jesus left this earth he handed that responsibility over to us. The promise is not only about Israel, it is not only about Jesus, it is about us too. We are now the ones who, in the name of Jesus, carry the responsibility of bringing the blessing of God to all nations. This is God’s special calling on us. Remember that we said the Bible describes the blessing of God as happiness or joy, protection and security, favour, honour, peace, authority, long life, good relationships, many children, material abundance and most of all, the presence of God.
Remember also that it is through covenant relationship with God and obedience to Him that we receive His blessings and that we teach others to receive them too.
In this passage the word “All” is used five times:
First: All authority in heaven and earth is given to Jesus—so it is certain that we will succeed if we do what he tells us to.
Second: He tells us to go into all the world—no place is to be left out.
Third: He tells us to make disciples of all the nations—not just the individuals, but all nations. Whole nations are to be brought into the kingdom, every person in the world.
Fourth: We are to teach them to obey all the things he has taught us—this is real discipleship: absolute obedience to him in every way.
And Fifth: He will be with us all the time. We will not take a step or make a move where he is unable to guide us, rescue us or support us.
The blessing of God is much greater than the assurance of going to heaven, it is salvation every day in every part of our lives. And it is not only for us—it is for every person on this planet. The blessing of God is a result of the kingdom of God and our mission is to bring that kingdom to every place and every person.
Questions to ponder:
- What is the difference between what Jesus says about all nations and the way we usually approach evangelism?
- How can we be better as Christians at making the connection between blessing and obedience for the people we serve through our ministries?