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Sabbath Bible Lessons

The Church and Her Mission

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Lesson 12 Sabbath, June 18, 2016

The Ascension of Christ

“[Jesus] led [his disciples] out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50, 51).

“The very same Jesus whom they had seen go up into Heaven, should come again in like manner as he had ascended. This assurance has ever been, and will be till the close of time, the hope and joy of all true lovers of Christ.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 254.

Suggested Reading:   The Desire of Ages, pp. 829-835

Sunday June 12

1. A QUICK VISIT TO THE FATHER

a. What did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene when she first recognized Him after His resurrection? John 20:14–17.

b. Based on His response to Mary, what suggests that Jesus later ascended to heaven that Sunday morning and came back the same day? John 20:19–27; Matthew 28:18.

“Jesus refused to receive the homage of His people until He had the assurance that His sacrifice was accepted by the Father. He ascended to the heavenly courts, and from God Himself heard the assurance that His atonement for the sins of men had been ample, that through His blood all might gain eternal life. The Father ratified the covenant made with Christ, that He would receive repentant and obedient men, and would love them even as He loves His Son. . . . All power in heaven and on earth was given to the Prince of Life, and He returned to His followers in a world of sin, that He might impart to them of His power and glory.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 790.


Monday June 13

2. CHRIST’S FINAL DAYS ON EARTH

a. How long did Jesus stay on earth after His resurrection, and what were some of the things He did with His followers during this time? Acts 1:1–3; Luke 24:45, 46.

“For forty days Christ remained on the earth, preparing the disciples for the work before them and explaining that which heretofore they had been unable to comprehend. He spoke of the prophecies concerning His advent, His rejection by the Jews, and His death, showing that every specification of these prophecies had been fulfilled. He told them that they were to regard this fulfillment of prophecy as an assurance of the power that would attend them in their future labors. . . .

“During these days that Christ spent with His disciples, they gained a new experience. As they heard their beloved Master explaining the Scriptures in the light of all that had happened, their faith in Him was fully established.”—The Acts of Apostles, pp. 26, 27.

b. Before ascending to heaven, what commission did Christ give to His disciples, and how far-reaching is this work? Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19, 20. Where was their work of preaching to begin, and why? Acts 1:8.

“Before ascending to heaven, Christ gave His disciples their commission. . . . You have been witnesses of My life of sacrifice in behalf of the world, He said to them. You have seen My labors for Israel. And although My people . . . have rejected Me, they shall have still another opportunity of accepting the Son of God. You have seen that all who come to Me confessing their sins, I freely receive. Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to both Jews and Gentiles—to Israel, first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples.”—Ibid., pp.27, 28.

“In Jerusalem were many who secretly believed Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah, and many who had been deceived by priests and rulers. To these the gospel must be proclaimed. They were to be called to repentance. The wonderful truth that through Christ alone could remission of sins be obtained, was to be made plain. And it was while all Jerusalem was stirred by the thrilling events of the past few weeks, that the preaching of the disciples would make the deepest impression.”—Ibid., pp.31, 32.


Tuesday June 14

3. CHRIST ASCENDS TO HEAVEN THE SECOND TIME

a. What specific place in Bethany did Jesus choose as the place for His ascension to heaven? Luke 24:50, 51. What other experiences made this place memorable to Christ?

“As the place of His ascension, Jesus chose the spot so often hallowed by His presence while He dwelt among men. . . . The groves and glens of the mountain had been consecrated by His prayers and tears. Its steeps had echoed the triumphant shouts of the multitude that proclaimed Him king. On its sloping descent He had found a home with Lazarus at Bethany. In the garden of Gethsemane at its foot He had prayed and agonized alone. From this mountain He was to ascend to heaven.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 829, 830.

b. How did the angels comfort the disciples at Jesus’ ascension? Acts 1:9–11.

“The most precious fact to the disciples in the ascension of Jesus was that he went from them into Heaven in the tangible form of their divine Teacher. The very same Jesus, who had walked, and talked, and prayed with them; who had broken bread with them; who had been with them in their boats on the lake; who had sought retirement with them in the groves; and who had that very day toiled with them up the steep ascent of Olivet—had ascended to Heaven in the form of humanity.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 254.

c. Why was it expedient for Jesus to go to heaven? John 16:7; 14:16, 26.

“The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 669.


Wednesday June 15

4. A GLORIOUS ENTRANCE TO THE CITY OF GOD

a. Who else ascended with Christ to heaven, and what was the reception they received before entering the city of God? Matthew 27:52, 53; Ephesians 4:8; Psalm 24:7–10.

“As [the Saviour] ascended he led the way, and the multitude of captives whom He had raised from the dead at the time when He came forth from the tomb, followed Him. The heavenly host, with songs of joy and triumph, escorted Him upward.”—The Signs of the Times, October 31, 1895.

“The portals of the city of God are opened wide, and the angelic throng sweep through the gates amid a burst of rapturous music. . . .

“The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion—all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate His triumph and to glorify their King.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 833, 834.

b. What did Christ request for His disciples, and what did the Father declare concerning them? John 17:24; Ephesians 1:6.

“Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son . . . had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race. This pledge Christ has fulfilled. . . . The compact had been fully carried out. Now [Christ] declares: Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am’ (John 19:30; 17:24).

“The voice of God is heard proclaiming that justice is satisfied. Satan is vanquished. Christ’s toiling, struggling ones on earth are ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (Ephesians 1:6). Before the heavenly angels and the representatives of unfallen worlds, they are declared justified.

. . . The Father’s arms encircle His Son and the word is given, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’ (Hebrews 1:6).”—Ibid., p.834.


Thursday June 16

5. THE ENTHRONEMENT OF CHRIST

a. With what words did the angels in heaven praise Jesus? Revelation 5:12.

“With joy unutterable, rulers and principalities and powers acknowledge the supremacy of the Prince of life. The angel host prostrate themselves before Him, while the glad shout fills all the courts of heaven, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain’ (Revelation 5:12).”—The Desire of Ages, p. 834.

b. What ceremony was performed for Christ, and what promise to His disciples was fulfilled as soon as that rite was over? John 16:7–13; Acts 1:8; 2:1–4.

“Christ’s ascension to heaven was the signal that His followers were to receive the promised blessing. For this they were to wait before they entered upon their work. When Christ passed within the heavenly gates, He was enthroned amidst the adoration of the angels. As soon as this ceremony was completed, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in rich currents, and Christ was indeed glorified, even with the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity. The Pentecostal outpouring was Heaven’s communication that the Redeemer’s inauguration was accomplished. According to His promise He had sent the Holy Spirit from heaven to His followers as a token that He had, as priest and king, received all authority in heaven and on earth, and was the Anointed One over His people.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 38, 39.


Friday June 17

PERSONAL AND REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. How was Jesus able to verify if His sacrifice for sin was accepted by the Father?

2. How can we, like the disciples, be witnesses for Christ in preaching the gospel?

3. What special blessing does the Comforter bring to all humanity?

4. Who attended the inauguration ceremony of Christ?

5. During His inauguration in heaven, to what offices was Christ inducted?

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