How do you picture Jesus?  Go ahead...think about it for a few moments.  I can wait...              Done yet?

Last night we celebrated a very special occasion in the church.  Some of you may know the day; others may not.  It was Ascension.  You can read the story here (Acts 1:1-11). When our K4 class was asked what Ascension means, the response was: "Jesus got to go home!"  Yes, he did!

But, it is more than that.  If you have a job/task to finish, do you get to go home before it is done?  I don't.  Neither did Jesus.  His "job" was to save the world.  He did that.  He took all the sins - ALL OF THEM.  Then, he ascended.  He got to go home.  Why?  Because he was done.

Back to my first question...so, how do you picture Jesus?  After a long day on the job, after you have finished the task, what do you do?  Go home and kick up your feet with the remote in your hand?  Is that how you picture Jesus?  Sitting in his barcalounger (is that really a word???), with the remote in one hand and a beer in the other?

Well, go behind the scenes and see Jesus.  In reality, that "behind the scenes look" is the book of Revelation.  You want to picture Jesus, then see what John (the one who wrote Revelation) saw when he got a look behind the scenes. (Revelation 1:9-18).

Is that a different picture of Jesus than what you were imagining? Think about it...Jesus is probably "busier" now after the Ascension, than what he was on earth.  All that power and glory and might put to work every second of every day...all for you!

The scary thing about this picture of Jesus is how John reacted.  This is the same John who felt comfortable enough to lean against Jesus and rest on him.  (John 13:21-25).  How many people in your life do you feel comfortable enough to do that?

Yet, as you read Revelation, where do you see this same John?  Is he resting on Jesus?  Is he leaning on him?  Hardly.  Instead, he fell to the ground as though he was dead.  So great was the power and glory of Jesus that this disciple, the one JESUS LOVED, fell to the ground in his presence!

Is that how you picture Jesus?  Do you see him in all his glory, power, and might?  Since he is so glorious, do you feel like you could never stand in his presence?  Does all that glory actually make you...scared of Jesus?

If so, then please stop that thinking!  Continue looking behind the scenes.  Continue to read the lesson from Revelation.  Does Jesus react to John's falling to the ground by saying, "It is about time you get it John!  NO ONE CAN STAND IN MY PRESENCE?"  Read it again: When I (John) saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “DO NOT BE AFRAID." (Revelation 1:17, emphasis added).

Think about all that same right hand has done.  That right hand calmed the storm; it reached out to heal the sick; it brought the dead back to life; it fed the hungry.  But, that same right hand was pierced (along with the left hand) on the cross.  Why did Jesus go to the cross?  So, that when you see Jesus in all his glory you will have the same message from HIS mouth - DO NOT BE AFRAID! 

Happy Ascension to you.  Jesus ascended to "go back home" because his work for our salvation is complete.  But, his work isn't finished.  Right now he rules the universe..for you.  Right now he keeps our enemies (devil/world/sinful flesh) at bay...for you.  And, right now he is preparing a very special place in heaven...for you!

So, when you picture Jesus, picture the same Jesus we saw on earth...one full of love; one who wanted to die; one who wants to live in heaven with you!  Do not be afraid...Jesus is still with you always!