WHAT DID CHRIST'S ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN DO FOR ME?
by Bobby Bruno
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It gave me a Lord who understands me better than I do
How well do you know yourself? How well do you know what is truly in your heart? I'm not talking about your likes and dislikes here, I'm talking about what is in the depths of your heart Ė the place where the real you truly resides. The place that only Jesus can get to; the place where all your hurts and hopes, dreams and nightmares, aspirations and desperations live in some way, shape or form.
Our hearts are where God looks to find the true "us", the "us" He created in the first place. Underneath all the "Stuff" we have gone through, and continue to go through in our lives, behind all the facades and masks where we hide the frightened "us", there is a heart that was created good. After God created man, He said that what He created was "very good". God says that your heart is "good". We may at times do evil things, but our hearts themselves are good in God's eyes.
What happened to our hearts for them to be in the miserable state they are in right now? Sin. Sin entered the world through Adam, and our hearts have been tainted ever since. Now, if we add on top of that every negative thought and deed the world, other people, and ourselves have thrown at us, we can see just how so much evil piles up on our hearts, and keeps the truth and glory about the real us from shining through for the world to see.
Unfortunately, for most of us, the negativity started way back before we even learned our names. One of our parents mistreated us when we were still in diapers; we were sexually or physically abused before we even knew what it was like to be a real child; we were put down by those we thought loved us; the list is endless. We are, for the most part, a product of our upbringing and the evil things that have happened to us in our pasts. And try as we might, we can never seem to get past our past. We can't stop smoking, drinking, sexing no matter how hard we try. We can't seem to get off the spiral that keeps bringing us back to the same thoughts we are trying to change. We keep coming back to the bad habits we've tried to break time and time again.
The Apostle Paul said it very clearly in Romans 7:23-24: "Iíve tried everything and nothing helps. Iím at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isnít that the real question?" (The Message)
Yes, how do we get out of this miserable life that we have created based on what we have been told from other people's thoughts and feelings about us (Satan also has a big hand in this)? How do we get out of the traps we have placed ourselves in based in bad information? How do we find our true selves, the selves we were meant to be since the beginning of time, the individuals we were created to be by a loving God? The Apostle Paul answers this question in the next verse in Romans 7:25: "The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different" (The Message).
Yes, it is Jesus. Only Jesus can break through our hearts of stone and restore them into a heart of flesh. Only Jesus can bring us out of death and back into life. But wait a minute, you say, how can Jesus who was God in the flesh understand what was like being abused, yelled at, hit, and mocked? He had a loving upbringing in a loving family, so He wasn't scarred until He was much older. He didn't have to live through all the junk I had to live through in my entire life. How can someone who only lived to be thirty-three years old tell me how to overcome the trials of my life here at fifty-two? How? How? How?
Here's how -- Hebrews 4:14-16: We have a great High Priest, who has gone into heaven, and He is Jesus the Son of God. That is why we must hold onto what we have said about Him. (15)Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because He was tempted in every way that we are. But He did not sin! (16)So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help (Contemporary English Version: The Promise).
Believe me, Jesus understands. Just read the accounts in the Gospels of the beatings and mocking He received at the hands of those who thought they knew what God was really like and what God really wanted. He was spit at, beaten, and whipped to within an inch of His life, so bad you could see His internal organs through the splits in His skin from the whip. He was made to carry the cross-beam to His own cross, down many streets to the site of His crucifixion. He was mocked along they way by those Satan had chosen to do so. I'm sure Satan was whispering a few things in Jesus' ears about giving up and giving in, that the Father didn't really love Him, why else would God allow his Son to die so young?
Does any of this sound familiar to you? How many times were you beaten unjustly as a child or adult? How many times have you been mocked by those you thought were on your side? How many times have you been whipped by angry and hurtful words from those who were supposed to love you? Need I go on? Jesus knows what we have all gone through in our lives. He is very conversant with every aspect of evil being done to a helpless human being. That's why He came here. To see just what it felt like to be one of us and to show us the Father's love. Fortunately for us, Jesus only needed thirty-three years to find out. He came to endure the cross and all that it meant to Him and to those who would follow Him in the future. He took upon Himself all that you and I would ever suffer through so He could help us in our times of need and comfort.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to cover all my sins
Let's briefly look at why Jesus took all this upon himself for us.
Hebrews 9:11-15 says: But when Christ came as the high priest of the good things we now have, he entered the greater and more perfect tent. It is not made by humans and does not belong to this world. (12)Christ entered the Most Holy Place only onceóand for all time. He did not take with him the blood of goats and calves. His sacrifice was his own blood, and by it he set us free from sin forever. (13)The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a cow are sprinkled on the people who are unclean, and this makes their bodies clean again. (14)How much more is done by the blood of Christ. He offered himself through the eternal Spirit as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will make our consciences pure from useless acts so we may serve the living God. (15)For this reason Christ brings a new agreement from God to his people. Those who are called by God can now receive the blessings he has promised, blessings that will last forever. They can have those things because Christ died so that the people who lived under the first agreement could be set free from sin (New Century Version).
What more marvelous and wondrous words have ever been spoken!? Verse fifteen should bring everyone to a shout of "Hallelujah"! Because of what Jesus willingly did by going to the cross, we now have been promised by God Himself that we are set free from sin and have eternal life if we are His people. Christ's own blood was shed willingly to cover over all our sins forever. He sacrificed His own life so that we may have ours; a life of freedom, peace, hope, joy, comfort, all of the promises that God has blessed us with. Jesus' sacrifice was the only way we could be forgiven our sins. Only someone who was without sin could take our sins upon himself. Jesus Christ was that someone. He was sinless Ė a perfect sacrifice. His ascension into Heaven was to show death (Satan) that he had been defeated. Jesusí death gave those who believe in Him eternal life.
So let go of your past and let Jesus shine the light of His Spirit into your life. Release any guilt or shame you may still feel about things that you have done in the past, or things that were done to you. Because I have been able to do this, I have a peace and joy in my life that is indescribable. I pray that, through these articles, you can sense the joy I have in knowing Jesus. I pray that my heart for the Lord, His friendship, and for you, comes through in such a way that you can feel the excitement I have knowing that I have been healed of my past. When I gave my life to Jesus I didn't know what to expect. Even so, He has done more than I could have ever expected, and He will do the same for you.
I will receive The Holy Spirit
But the most important aspect of Jesus' ascension into Heaven was the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:26: But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (New International Version).
The only way for us to receive the Holy Spirit is to give our lives to Jesus. Only then will we be able to live for Him, and to have true peace and joy. Through the Bible, we can read the words of Jesus and be strengthened by them, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that helps us get through each day. The Holy Spirit is the only One who can get us out of our pasts and into the future that God has planned for us.
Without the Holy Spirit in our lives we would be directionless, without a rudder or compass. The world would reinvade us and take over again. That is something Jesus or I don't want to happen. Through the Holy Spirit we can see that our futures are bright and that our lives are in good hands. But we have to listen to Him, which is hard to do since we are still in the world. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is stronger than the world, and that Jesus has conquered it for us.
Let them have their way with us so that they made be glorified in the work they do in our lives as Children of God.
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