Today we celebrate Ascension Day. Acts 1 records the last conversation in which Jesus speaks of the Disciples being made into witnesses, and what we generally forget that to become witnesses they needed power to enter into that dimension.
As we celebrate Ascension Day, we must give a careful thought what that means. In the life of Jesus it is a transition from being risen to being glorified. There is a great work from heaven, and in heaven that we must reflect on.
The first manifestation we see in the Ascension is the bestowing of the ministry offices. There is no doubt that according to Ephesians 4 we see the Ascension as being the key event to this bestowing of new places and dwelling abodes that Jesus spoke about in John 14. The disciples in seeing Him being lifted up were to share in the same experience as Elisha in 2 Kings 2, Elijah is taken up and the mantle is thrown down.
In Jesus we do not get the mantle thrown down, we get Jesus’ own heart coming upon the disciples bestowing upon them apostleship.
This apostleship is an extension of Himself and must be distinct only in what Ephesians 4 tells us and what Acts 2 in the Act of the Holy Spirit coming down.
When we consider the Ascension gifts from a priestly context the Word always presents priesthood before there is a tabernacle or temple to structure it. The institution by God, and its anointing is always before its structure.
The second act of Jesus is spelled out in Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost. That the Son asks the Father after being invited to sit at the Right Hand as related by Hebrews 12. Yet between the Ascension and Pentecost there are 10 days. In those 10 days we see a preparation take place, of unity, of prayer, of gaining a sense of what Church was in Jesus’ idea.
It is good to surmise that the apostleship that was birthed in them came with it a knowledge of the eternal programme supervised by Jesus in many generations.
It is obvious in my view, that the mindset of the 120 in that Upper Room was so different to what is prevalent in Church circles today. The thing that comes to me very evidently is the two pillars of ministry to be passed down, that is the generational and collective mindset.
What I see Jesus doing is moving in generations not just people groups. This generation I believe is being led by false teachers to a point of intense thirst. False prophets and teachers are using internet today to appeal to the base desires and frustrations of people today. They are promising prosperity, health, influence.
Isn’t it ironic that the Temptation of Jesus that the devil was to give Jesus all these if He would just bow down?
What I believe is that what is going to be birthed from this situation is a birthing of a new leadership generation where knowing Christ is going to be the cornerstone! Yes Jesus moves across a generation to bring about the foundation for the next generation that follows on.
The other concept that is pertinent in Scripture is the move of God in the collective context. This means that it is not an emphasis in the individual but the Corporate Body of Christ.
So very often in modern movements today the emphasis is on the individual. This harks back to the Catholic Church alerting in the 17th century when the Renaissence was bringing a shift from a collective mentality to a individual emphasis. This meant that the individual was made important, humanism was birthed in this, and the Church at that time saw the shift from spiritual to secular. The rights of the individual are growing so much that lifestyles and choices are elevated above requirements of faith. This has spawned the abandonment of traditional forms of family, childhood, and the expression of faith in a family setting.
Families are ravaged by consumerism and alternative lifestyles which are making a profession of faith and building of the Church more difficult. This progression has been going on for 300 years and it has filtered into the modern day Church.
What we need is Jesus to ascend afresh in our thinking birthing in us a new apostleship to our generation to impact the Church collective.
The third act of Jesus is to put in motion the programme cited in Psalm 110 where the Church in any given generation be the extension of Jesus to put the enemy under His feet. This will require a major shift in Theology of our day, where preaching majors on the Gospel Jesus, and not the Jesus of Revelation chapter 1. John is left for dead as he sees the Glorified Lord.
To see the enemy prevailed over through the Church there needs to be a refreshed vision of the Jesus of Revelation. This Jesus is moving through the Church to bring about a preparation for the installation of the Kingdom of God in the earth to once and for all deal with the kingdom of darkness and Lucifer.
This shift of thinking cannot happen whilst ministry majors on temporal benefits than eternal purposes. So for that to happen there must be some upheaval and some leaders “dying in the wilderness” of their disobedience and short sightedness.
However the Ascension and His Sitting at the Right Hand, guarantees that in our generation the programme will go forward.
Our task today is to embrace in prayer and in the Word the Ascension so that once we put it in it’s right context we see how great this event was and how great is its implication is for us today!