Sunday, April 03, 2016

WHAT COLOR WAS JESUS WHEN HE ASCENDED?: SCS 78

Sunday, April 3, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 78

PRAYER for Today:

Heavenly Father,
We know we are all broken and in need of your grace. Only You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are full of sin and bring light to the darkness in our lives.
Help us Father to accept your freely given gift of grace that we might be reconciled to You.
We ask that Your will be done in our lives and that we may act lovingly towards our fellow sojourners who around the world are hurting so that they might see a little of You in our daily lives.  
It is in Your Resurrected Living Son’s name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:  

Luke 24: 36-53 (NIV)

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The Ascension of Jesus

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Acts 1:1-11 (NIV)

Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”



SERMON for Today:

It is a matter of much discussion in some circles as to what color of skin Jesus had when He was on earth.  The theories are numerous basically depending on the skin color of the person proposing the theory.  I call all the speculations theories because of course there are no photographs of Jesus.

The important thing is not the color of His skin while He was on this earth, but rather the fact that He is not still buried in the tomb.  He overcame death that we might have a chance at life with a relationship with Him and the Father.  He is coming back the same way He left.

Jesus is the one who said, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  That means we were included because Jesus included us.  It was not a decision made by someone after the church got started.  It was a command by Jesus before He ascended.  What color was Jesus when He ascended? Neutral.  A neutral tone will make any small splash of color stand out.  Jesus’ ascension was so we could stand out and be seen by the Father and be blessed beyond our wildest dreams by our Creator.

We should not be worried about His skin color while He was on earth.  We should be concerned with carrying out the task He gave us.  He told us to take the light to the “ends of the earth.”  That might mean some far off place or it might mean to your very different neighbor to whom you have never spoken or even looked at.

May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.

  
© Ed Cooper, April 3, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was a teenager there with his parents in the early 1960’s. Ed recognizes he is a flawed sinner needing God’s grace and your prayers.)

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