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THE CORONATION OF THE KING
Intro: The time of our Lord’s earthly ministry had drawn to a close. In these verses, He stands with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, just outside the city of Jerusalem. This mountain held a special place in the hearts of the Jews and for the disciples of our Lord. It was over the slopes of this mountain that King David had fled Jerusalem with a broken heart during the rebellion of his own son Absalom. It was from this mountain that Jesus had descended, on the back of a donkey, into the city of Jerusalem for His triumphal entry into that city. It was at the foot of this mountain that Jesus gathered with His men in a place called Gethsemane to pray the night He was arrested. It was from that garden that He had been taken away, under arrest, to be tried and crucified by the Jews and the Romans. It was a special place filled with many precious and heart rending memories for the Lord’s men.
This occasion would also be a memorable time. This was time of “Good-byes”. Jesus was preparing to ascend back to Heaven from which He had come. He is leaving His men behind. For them, this must have been an exceedingly difficult moment. They were about to watch the One they had loved, served and worshiped go away. These men had been with Jesus through the good times and the bad times. They had watched Him exercise the power of deity to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cause the lame to walk, the deaf to hear and the blind to see. They had seen Him raise the dead, walk on the water and they had even watched as devils answered His beck and call. Now, they are about to watch Him go away. Surely their hearts are breaking as they listen to His final words and wait for the moment they will be parted from Him.
Everyone of us is aware of the pain that a good-bye can cause, but on this occasion, what appeared to be a time of sadness and parting, was in fact a time of rejoicing and completion. You see, there are several events in the life of the Lord Jesus that are absolutely inseparable. What He is doing on this day is completing what He began when He laid aside His robes of glory to be born in the humble village of Bethlehem. His birth, His life, His crucifixion, His resurrection and His ascension are all part of the same process. None could have happened without the rest and everything fails if any is missing. These verses record for us the amazing ascension of Lord crucified and risen Lord back into the glory He knew before He became a man. I am going to be preaching today about the ascension of Jesus back to Heaven to occupy the throne He vacated to come down to earth. He never stopped being King, He merely laid aside some of His divine prerogatives for a time, Phil. 2:5-8. Because of all He did in, the Incarnation, in the Crucifixion, and in the Resurrection - He is about to complete it all through His Ascension back into His glory in Heaven. This morning, while time permits and the Lord gives grace, I would like to preach on the thought The Coronation Of The King.
I. V. 6-7 THE MYSTERY OF HIS CORONATION
(Ill. The question asked by the Apostles seems to indicate that they knew nothing of His going away. They were under the assumption that He would establish His kingdom immediately. They weren’t alone in their belief. No one, it seems, anticipated the ascension of Jesus back to Heaven.)
A. It Was A Mystery To His Prophets - The ascension is alluded to three times in the Old Testament - Psa. 24:7; 68:18; 110:1. The prophets seemed to know nothing of this great event. Perhaps this is why the Jews could not conceive of a Messiah Who would die on a cross. They were expecting a King Who would reign in power and liberate the people of Israel. It is as if the Old Testament prophets could see His first coming and His second coming, but could not see His ascension back to Heaven and the church age in which we are now living. (Illustrate: Imagine standing in a valley looking up at a mountain. Just behind that first mountain stands another mountain. One appears to be right behind the other. What you cannot see is the valley that lies between them.) It was a mystery to His prophets.
B. It Was A Mystery To His People - While Jesus was ministering in the midst of His people, He spoke of His ascension on several occasions - John 6:62; 7:33; 14:28; 16:5; 20:17. Yet, it seems, that at the time, none of the disciples understood just what He was saying. They could not grasp the thought that Jesus would be going away.
(Note: There’s much in this Bible that I do not understand. That’s OK, I don’t have to know it all. I believe He will provide me with just as much light as I need for my journey. But, friends, it isn’t the parts of this book that I don’t understand that cause me problems, it’s the parts that I do understand! You see, you will be held responsible for the amount of light you receive, James 3:1; Romans 2:12!)
II. V. 9 THE MAJESTY OF HIS CORONATION
(Ill. For the men who witnessed Jesus and His ascension back to Heaven, it was an event like no other. It was a time of Mystery, yes, but it was also a time of Majesty, as the King of Kings returned to His rightful place in Heaven at the Father’s right hand.)
A. It Was A Heavenly Event - This was a supernatural event because Gravity Released Him! Jesus had no problem overcoming the so-called “Laws of Nature” while He ministered here on earth. After all, He walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, fed great multitudes with impossibly small amounts of food, He even overcame great distances like they were nothing. His ascension is merely one more instance of His power as God. He had already claimed to be deity and He had proven Himself to be deity time after time during the course of His ministry. Here, He proves that He is, without question, the God of the universe. (Note: When the disciples see Him rise up into the air, the Bible says they “looked steadfastly”. This literally means “their eyes were on stems”. Their eyes were popping out of their heads as they tried to take in all they were seeing!) (Note: I don’t know about you, but I am glad this same Jesus is my Lord and my God today! Why? Because He can, will and has exercised the very same power in overcoming the needs and problems in my life! I am glad today that I serve a God Who can!)
B. It Was A Holy Event - The Bible tells us that a “cloud received Him out of their sight”. At the very same instant Gravity was commanded to Release Him, His Glory was waiting to Reclaim Him! This glory had been allowed to surface only once during His lifetime, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Matt. 17:1-9. Now, He is received up into His glory once again!
I am not sure about this, but I like to think that this was the same cloud that had guided the children of Israel as they wandered through the wilderness. I like to think that this was the same cloud that had stood over the holy of holies in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. I like to think that this is the same cloud that protected the holiness of God from the prying eyes of sinful men! I think that if those men had been able to see beyond that cloud that day, they would have seen the heavens opened to receive their King. They would have seen the angelic hosts watching in wonder as their glorious Lord returned to His home in Heaven. They would have seen the Father rise to greet His returning Son of Whom He was so proud! You see, there was more going on there that met the eyes! God was doing a work into which mere mortals were not allowed to look. He was doing a work culminated the plan of salvation for you and for me!
III. V. 10-11 THE MINISTRY OF HIS CORONATION
(Ill. As the disciples watch their Lord depart into Heaven, they are confronted by angelic messengers. These come with a message for these men. It is a message of hope and of promise. It is a message that tells them, “Jesus may be gone for a short time, but He will return in like manner. So, stop standing here looking up, get out there and get busy!” That is still the message the church needs to hear today! Some people want to go to Heaven, but they forget that they are to serve here on the earth while they wait for the trip! The disciples came off that mountain and got busy doing what the Lord has called them to do! Isn’t it about time the church came down from our ivory towers and remembered that a world is going to Hell and we have the message they need to hear? We have a job to do, let’s get about it!
When Jesus returned to Heaven. He returned with a specific agenda in mind. He returned to Heaven to accomplish several specific ministries for the people of God. Allow me to point a few details concerning our Lord’s ministry in Heaven.
A. He Ascended As The Crucified One - When Jesus returned to Heaven, He returned bearing in His body the marks of the cross, John 20:27; Rev. 5:6; Zech. 13:6. He went back to Heaven as the crucified Lamb of God. He returned having accomplished redemption on the cross for all who will believe in Him by faith. He returned with His Own blood to present in Heaven as the perfect, eternal, once for all atonement for sin - Heb. 10:12-13; Heb. 9:11-14. (Illustration: After his defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon was exiled to the island of Sicily. History says that as time and age took their toll on the little Emperor, he would stand looking at a great map of Europe. On that map, there was a red circle around that place where he suffered his ultimate defeat. Napoleon would tap his finger on that red dot and say, “If it were not for that one red spot, I would be the Emperor of all Europe!” I can imagine the devil with a map of time before him as he taps on a red spot called Calvary and says, “If it were not for that red spot called Calvary, I would be the king of the world!” Friends, Jesus won the victory!)
B. He Ascended As The Conquering One - Lest we feel bad for the pain that Jesus bore for us on the cross, let us not forget that three days after He died, He arose from the grave in absolute victory! When He ascended back to Heaven, He ascended as a conquering general Who had invaded the territory of the enemy, ransacked his position, spoiled him and returned in victory to His Own city! This is exactly what the Bible says He did, Col. 2:13-15. This brings to mind the ancient Roman practice of the Triumphus. Often victorious Roman generals would return from the field of battle bringing with them the spoils of war they had captures. They also carried in tow the kings, generals and soldiers they had defeated. When they paraded through the city, the crowds would shout, “Triumphus, Triumphus!”. Imagine the scene in Heaven, Jesus has forever conquered sin and Satan at the cross. Then He ripped the bars out of death, hell and the grave in His resurrection. Then He gathered up those believers who had been imprisoned in the heart of the earth since Adam, Eph. 4:8, and marched back into Heaven as a conquering general. Imagine the rejoicing in Heaven as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords return in total triumph over all the enemies of God and God’s people! (Illustration: After World War I when many French soldiers were returning from fighting the Germans in the trenches, they would approach the city of Paris. There on the Arc de Triumph, built by Napoleon was a robed choir. As the dirty, bloody soldiers approached, some helping their crippled and blind comrades, others still covered with the blood of their fallen friends, that choir would sing out: “What right have you to enter the Arc of Triumph?” Those soldiers would stop before the choir, lift their voices together and cry, “We have been to Verdun! We have been to Verdun!” Then, the soldiers would be given a heroes welcome! Imagine the scene in Heaven that day as Jesus made His way into the city. I can hear the angelic hosts crying out as one: “What right do you have to enter Heaven!” Then, I can hear the answer rising from the throat of the One Who gave voice to the wind, “I have been to Calvary!” Then I can see the angels bow before Him! I can see the Father rise to meet Him and I hear the Father say for the third time: “This is my beloved Son in Who I am well pleased!”
C. He Ascended As The Consoling One - When He returned to Heaven, He did not leave His people alone. He sent His Spirit into the world to indwell, fill, guide and comfort the people of the Lord, John 16:7. He sent the Holy Spirit, Who came bringing gifts for the people of God, Eph. 4:8; 1 Cor. 12. His gifts make our service to Him possible! (Ill. The transformation in Peter between the night he denied Jesus 3 times to the Day of Pentecost when he preached in the power of the Holy Spirit and 3,000 people were saved!)
D. He Ascended As The Confessing One - One of the most vital ministries the Lord provides for us is His ministry of intercession. According to the Bible, Jesus confesses us before the throne of God, Matt. 10:32. He is our Mediator, 1 Tim. 2:5, John 14:6. He is our Advocate, 1 John 2:2. He expresses our heart and our needs before the throne of grace, Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25. Thank God, there is always One praying for us! Even when I am not on praying ground, He always is! Because He perfectly fulfilled God’s plan of redemption, He sits in the presence of the Father as the guarantee of all the promises of the new covenant! His very presence in Heaven IS our intercession!
E. He Ascended As The Confirming One - His presence in Heaven is the guarantee of our presence in Heaven some day, Eph. 2:6! He ascended into Heaven as our “forerunner”, Heb. 6:18-20! The word “Forerunner” refers to “a scout, a trailblazer, one who charts the course others are to follow.” This word was a nautical word and it referred to a small boat. Often the Mediterranean ports were dangerous places. At low tides there were many reefs and sandbars that could ground or sink a large ship. Therefore, the big ship would stay in deeper water and send the “forerunner”, a small boat, which carried the ships anchor around the hazards. The anchor was dropped in the port and when the tides came in and covered the hazards, the ship could take up the anchor rope and sail safely into the harbor! Jesus is our “Forerunner”! He has gone before His people and has set the anchor with the veil in Heaven! One of these days, the tide will come in and we will be able to sail straight into the Haven of Rest in glory! Heaven sent the big ship first so all the little boats could come safely in one day!
F. He Ascended As The Coming One - These two angels promised the disciples that this same Jesus would return in the same manner. They are referring to His second coming! When He went up, He left the promise that He would come down again! When He comes the next time, it will be to receive His people unto Himself and take them to Heaven, 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18. After that, He is returning to rule and reign on this earth for 1,000 years, Rev. 2:27. Are you looking for His return? He’s coming and it could be today! (Illustrate: One of the generals present when the Japanese signed the instruments of surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri was Gen. Wainwright. As you remember, Wainwright was taken prisoner by the Japanese and for many, many months he was a prisoner of war. Gen. Wainwright lost weight, became a very emaciated man, and they put him through all kinds of things in that Japanese prisoner of war camp. They began to tantalize him and tell him that America was losing the war and that he was going to be killed and that he would never see his home again. And, of course, he had no communications. He didn't know how the war was faring. He didn't know but what they might be correct.
Day by day his captors would fill him with all of that pessimism and all of that despair. Then one night some of our men were able to slip secretly into that Japanese prison and they were able to get into the room where Gen. Wainwright was and they told him that the war was over and it would be just a matter of hours when the American forces would come to the prison and would liberate him. So the next morning when his captors came in to begin their mockery and to begin their browbeating of him again, Gen. Wainwright, emaciated, skin and bones, Gen. Wainwright sat up in that bed and began to give them orders and to tell them what to do and issued the commands. Those Japanese captors went rushing
out of his room and they said, “He's been told, he's been told, he's been told.”
Well, I've got news for you, friend, when the Devil whispers in your ear, it's all over. And when the Devil whispers that death is going to be the end for you, you can start giving orders to the Devil, you've been told...Jesus is going to come again one of these days.)
Conc: Do you know this King I have been preaching about this morning? If you do then one day after while, you will see Him in His glory in Heaven. Or, better yet, you might see Him when He returns in the clouds above this earth to take His people home with Him! Do you know Him? If you do, then you ought to rejoice in what you have as His child! Praise God for His ascension and His work in Heaven for us!
If you don’t know Him today, you can. All you have to do is come to Him, confess your sins, accept Him and His finished work by faith and He will save your soul!
If you are not saved, you come! If you are save and there is sin in your life and you want to get right with God, you come. If you are saved and want to thank Jesus, then you come. If you need to mind God and join this church then you come. Whatever the need, it can be met right here. Just mind Him as He calls!