Daily Bible Readings – Thursday May 17, 2012 – Ascension Day

Prayer Psalm: 8

Prayer Point: Get outside and look at the night sky, or imagine a cloudless night sky if it’s overcast today. Meditate on the vastness of the universe and marvel that God even thinks of us. Praise God because he made his Son, Jesus, a little lower than the angels. Give thanks that Jesus laid down his life for us. Most of all, praise God that Jesus has ascended to throne of heaven and God the Father is putting all things under Jesus’ feet.

Matthew 28:16-20

Verse 17 says that ‘some doubted’. Why do you think that there were still doubters among the disciples even after the resurrection of Jesus? How does Jesus handle this?

Jesus before his ascension gives the disciples the mission they (and we) are to carry on in his absence. The central command is “make disciples.” Just as an apple tree is designed to make more apple trees, so Jesus’ disciples were made to make other disciples. All the other statements describe what it means to make a disciple.

From among what people were the disciples to make disciples? What two things were they to do with those they were calling to be disciples of Jesus?

In what way is Jesus still with us even though he has ascended into heaven? (See Acts 2:1-4.)

Hebrews 2:5-18

Hebrews was a letter written to a group of Jewish Christians, who, because of persecution, were considering abandoning their faith in Jesus and returning to Judaism. The book was written to encourage these Christians to hold fast to Jesus. You’ll notice that the author appeals to the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures, to convince his audience.

Who is Jesus (the son of man) according to Psalm 8 (quoted in Hebrews 2:6-8)? What kind of authority does Jesus have in our world? Why does Jesus enjoy this position (verse 9)? What did Jesus do for us?

How did God the Father make Jesus, the author of our salvation, perfect? How is that we (the ones made holy) and Jesus (the one who makes men holy) now belong to the same family?

For what purpose did Jesus become our brother and share in our humanity? “Abraham’s descendants” was a Jewish way of referring to God’s people. Through the coming of Jesus Christ, all those who put their faith in Him are considered to be descendents of Abraham and heirs to the promises that God had given him. For more on these promises see Genesis 12:1-3. What new role has Jesus taken on because he became a human being? In what way can Jesus now help us with our struggle with sin?

Daniel 7:9-14 – The Ascension of Jesus from heaven’s perspective

These verses of Daniel Chapter 7 reveal what was going on in heaven when the LORD Jesus had ascended. Daniel lived between 605 and 530 B.C. He “pictured” this event over five hundred years before Jesus was born. (On a personal note: of all the translations of the bible, the Revised Standard Version – which is now out of print – gives us the most beautiful rendering of this event. – j.t.) I will quote the entire passage:

“As I looked,
thrones were placed
and one that was Ancient of Days took his seat;
his raiment was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
its wheels were burning fire.
“A stream of fire issued
and came forth from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
“I looked then because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking (see verse 8). And as I looked, the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. As for the rest of the beasts (see verse 3), their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. I saw in the night visions,

“and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
“And to him was given dominion
and glory and kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:9-14 RSV)

“Son of man” was Jesus’ favorite description of himself. It was this title which he used referring to himself more than any other. I don’t think it was a coincidence. Jesus was as aware as I am of this passage in Daniel.

Another note of interest: God is referred to in this passage as the “Ancient of Days”. Only in the book of Daniel is this title of God used. It can be found nowhere else in the bible.

Similar images of this glory can be found in the book of Revelation in Chapters 19 (1-10) and 21.

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