THE RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION OF CHRIST

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    [Mark:15:42-47]; [Mark:16:1-20]; [Acts:1:1-11].

    Lesson No.: 
    171
    Class: 
    Senior
    Memory Verse: 

    “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10).

    Cross References: 

    I Burial of Jesus
    1. Jesus’ body was taken by Joseph of Arimathæa, [Mark:15:42-45].
    2. Jesus was laid in a new sepulchre, [Mark:15:46].

    II Resurrection of Jesus
    1. Women came, when the Sabbath was past, to anoint the body of Jesus, [Mark:15:47]; [Mark:16:1-2].
    2. The women found a young man sitting in the open sepulchre, [Mark:16:3-5]; [Luke:24:3]; [John:20:11-12].
    3. The angel gave them the comforting news of the resurrection of Jesus, [Mark:16:6-8]; [Mark:14:28]; [Matthew:26:32].
    4. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, then to two disciples, and then to the others as they ate, [Mark:16:9-14]; [1 Corinthians:15:5].

    III Christ’s Commission to His Disciples
    1. Jesus gave a world-wide commission to all who follow Him, [Mark:16:15-16]; [Matthew:28:19]; [John:15:16]; [John:12:48].
    2. Signs will follow the preaching of the Gospel, [Mark:16:17-18]; [Luke:10:17, [Luke:10:19]; [Acts:2:4].
    3. Jesus showed Himself alive for 40 days, by many infallible proofs, [Acts:1:1-3].

    IV Promise of the Father
    1. Jesus commanded His disciples to wait for the Comforter, [Acts:1:4-5]; [Joel:2:28]; [Luke:24:49]; [John:14:16].
    2. The disciples still had expectation of an earthly kingdom, [Acts:1:6]; [Isaiah:1:26].
    3. Jesus told them that the Father had retained some things in His own power, [Acts:1:7].
    4. The Holy Ghost would come upon them and they would be witnesses for God, [Acts:1:8]; [Acts:2:1-4].

    V Ascension of Jesus
    1. Jesus was taken up into Heaven, out of their sight, [Acts:1:9]; [Luke:24:51].
    2. Two men in white apparel assured them of His return, [Acts:1:10-11]; [Mark:16:19]; [Daniel:7:13]; [Matthew:24:30]; [1 Thessalonians:4:16]; [Revelation:1:7].
    3. The disciples went forth preaching everywhere, the Lord confirming the Word with signs following, [Mark:16:20].

    Notes: 

    In this lesson we have an account of the burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. At His arrest and trial, the disciples forsook Him and fled. Joseph of Arimathæa, a rich man, who was also a counsellor, followed Jesus secretly for fear of the Jews. But after Jesus was crucified we find Joseph going boldly to Pilate and begging for Jesus’ body. What seemed to put fear into the hearts of some, put boldness into the hearts of others.

    It was the custom in those days to prepare a dead body for burial with sweet spices. For lack of time, because the Sabbath was drawing near, they buried Jesus hurriedly and expected to anoint His body when the Sabbath was past. At the first break of dawn a group of women bearing sweet spices began groping their way to the tomb. Although Jesus had repeatedly told them He would rise again, they never seemed to grasp that truth. They were surprised, afraid, and bewildered when they saw the stone rolled away, and an angel announced to them, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.”

    The grave, with the stone that closed the door, would not hold the Son of God. He was the Resurrection and the Life! When the time came that He should arise, nothing could stop Him. The Roman soldiers fell as dead men. The seal of the government could not restrain the power of God. Jesus came forth, conquering death, hell, and the grave.

    The soldiers fled to the city when they recovered from the shock of the tremendous event, and told the chief priests what had happened. These ungodly men instructed the soldiers to lie, guaranteeing that they would be protected in case military action would be brought against them for sleeping on duty. But the fact of His resurrection was known to many in those days in spite of the report that went abroad which was based upon the lies of the soldiers.

    The Resurrection an Established Fact
    It is an established fact of history that Jesus arose from the grave. The Resurrection is the Christian’s faith and hope. Paul’s preaching centred around the Resurrection. It was for the hope of the resurrection of the dead that Paul was called in question before the council. There were also some in the Corinthian church who were saying there is no resurrection of the dead, and Paul wrote that memorable fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians that has been the stay and hope of Christians down through the centuries. “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: . . . And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (I Corinthians:15:13, 17).

    Jesus appeared in a visible form to many of the saints after His resurrection. Sometimes it was to one alone, sometimes to a group of two or more, and at one time to above 500 who were gathered together. It was on one of these occasions that He gave them that commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Every creature -– the rich, the poor, the high, the low, the learned, the unlearned -- all alike were to hear the Gospel message. Not a select few chosen of the Lord, were to be saved and the others rejected. The call to the “Whosoever will” was to ring out, and he that believed would be saved. He that believed not would be damned.

    Power for Service
    Before Jesus ascended, He told His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on High. That enduement would give them the necessary authority for their ministry and also power over every power of the enemy. It would guarantee the fact that signs would follow their preaching. They were to speak with new tongues, which they did when they were baptised with the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus also said: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” Nowhere did the Lord ever tell them to make a demonstration or show of their power. It was given them to glorify God d bless humanity. They were not to presume on God’s mercy by going out and wilfully taking up serpents to demonstrate their power with God, as some are doing these days. The Lord’s meaning is plain in Scripture.

    Towards the end of Paul’s life he was gathering sticks to build a fire, and a viper fastened on his hand. The barbarians on the Island saw it, and expected to see Paul fall down dead. They knew what the bite of that awful, venomous beast meant. But when Paul shook the serpent off into the fire and received no hurt from it, that proved to them the power of the Gospel ([Acts:28:1-6]). The Lord will protect His own from serpents and deadly poison if we accidentally come in contact with such, but we are not to make a show and brazenly try to demonstrate to the world, for our self-glory, that we have such power.

    Ascension of Jesus
    For 40 days after His resurrection Jesus had appeared to His disciples, sometimes behind closed doors, sometimes out by the seaside. Being in His glorified body He could suddenly appear in their midst, and just as suddenly vanish out of their sight. The Word tells us that by many infallible proofs He showed Himself alive after His passion. He taught the disciples many things concerning the Kingdom of God. Their understanding seemed more enlightened after His resurrection, for before them were demonstrated in actuality many of the former teachings of Jesus.

    One day, being assembled with them in Jerusalem, He led them out as far as Bethany on Mount Olivet. There He gave them His last command. They were not to depart “from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” Then He lifted up His hands toward Heaven and gave them His parting blessing. While He was blessing them, He was parted from them, and carried up into Heaven. With their eyes they followed Him until a cloud received Him out of their sight. While they were still looking toward Heaven, two angels stood by and said: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up to heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” They returned to Jerusalem with great joy. How different they must have felt now from the way they did the night they buried Jesus in Joseph’s new tomb!

    The Coming of Jesus
    He is coming again! Those words have thrilled the saints of God down through the ages. We believe His coming is imminent. It is the glorious hope of the Church, and we are continually listening for the sound of the trumpet and for the shout of the archangel.

    What a strange pathway God chose for His beloved Son here below! A lowly birth and a shameful death, but a glorious resurrection! Momentous events took place in a short period of time. The Son of God had been betrayed, crucified, placed in a tomb; and then, on the morning of the third day, He arose! The earth quaked, rocks rent, graves opened, and the angels came down and rolled the stone away. Christ, the Son of God, laid down His life that He might take it up again.

    After His resurrection He revealed Himself first to a woman. A woman was first in the transgression, but she was also first at the tomb and first to see the risen Saviour. A woman was also trusted with the first Gospel message: “Go . . . tell.” She ran to bear the glad tidings that Jesus, the Son of God, had broken the power of death and was now alive -– alive forevermore!

    Because He lives we shall live also. Glorious Gospel! Who could reject it? He died for our sins; He arose for our justification. He ascended on High; He is coming again. Paul counted all things but loss that he might win Christ and know Him and the power of His resurrection. Are we counting all things but loss that we might make the Rapture? Are we earnestly striving to be ready when Jesus comes? “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” (Revelation:20:6).

    Questions: 

    1. Who buried Christ in his own new tomb?
    2. To whom did Christ first appear after His resurrection?
    3. Who rolled the stone away from the door of the sepulchre?
    4. What was Christ’s commission to His disciples?
    5. Who will be saved? Who will be damned?
    6 Name some occasions where Christ was seen after His resurrection.
    7. From what place did He ascend into Heaven?
    8. What announcement did the angels make when Jesus ascended?
    9. Did it bring joy or grief to the hearts of the disciples?
    10. What was the last command Jesus gave to His disciples?