His Hands Are Still Up

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Luke 24:44-53 || May 12, 2024

Do you feel blessed? I don’t know about you, but I don’t always feel blessed. Why am I having all these problems at work? Why am I having all these financial issues? Am I really getting this diagnosis right now? That’s the last thing I need on my plate. Do we think these thoughts? But regardless of how we feel, Jesus is blessing us right now. In our text for today, when it refers to Jesus blessing his disciples, did you catch the tense of the verb? In the original Greek, it’s a present tense, infinitive, meaning that Jesus is still blessing right now. It’s a continuous ongoing action. His hands of blessing have not stopped. But if that’s the case, then shouldn’t things in our lives be better? And why did he ascend into heaven anyways? Wouldn’t it have been easier if he had stayed here? Surely we wouldn’t have all the problems that we have, right? There’s wars going on around the world, some that the media talks about and some that the media doesn’t talk about. Then we have the perennial issues of pollution, of drug abuse, gang violence, human trafficking, etc., etc., etc. And then later this year we have a presidential election. What’s going to happen with that? We really could just spend a whole day worrying about all these things. There’s a lot that we could be depressed about. So when it says that Jesus is blessing us right now, that can be hard to believe. But do you know what’s not hard to believe? It’s not hard to believe that non-Christians think that we’re crazy. You say Jesus is blessing you, but what’s the proof of that? Or how about this question? Why do you worship a God that you’ve never seen before? And I think it’s a fair question. Because with most things in life, we need to see it to believe it. We need to see the results of the doctor’s exam in order to believe the diagnosis. We need to see evidence before we convict someone of a crime. We need to see or hear of politicians, policies, and arguments before we elect them into office. That is the normal way of doing things. But none of us have ever seen God, so is He really blessing us? Is He really with us as He says? Well, before we answer that, let’s think about why Jesus ascended into heaven. Jesus ascended into heaven to fill the universe and to resume His role as the ruler of all things. You see, He was always the ruler of all things because He’s the Creator. But He gave up the full use of His divine power for a time so that He could live and die in our place as a human being so that He could go to the cross. And He did go to the cross. And while He was there, He said, “It is finished.” Meaning that He accomplished His mission of saving us from our sins. And then He rose from the dead to prove that the Father has forgiven our sins. But that’s only part of the story. Yes, God promised that the Messiah would save us from our sins, and He did. But the other part of the promise is that the Messiah would judge the world, and that is still to happen. You see, Jesus will come back the same way that He went up. He will pull back the clouds, and He will come to judge every single person. And He will take His people to live with Him in the new heaven and the new earth, where they will no longer face the plague of sin ever again. So He’s working everything for our good so that we come to that eternal paradise. That’s the end game, brothers and sisters. And that’s why it’s a good thing that He ascended into heaven so that Jesus could bring to fruition what He has promised to give us. And because He always has our best interests in mind, He knew that it would be best if we were not able to see Him as He conducts the symphony of the universe. After all, sinful people cannot look upon the holy God and live. So He uses sinful people, flawed people like you and me, to tell others about Him. And it’s a great honor to do so. You see, Jesus is patient and He’s gracious, and right now He’s giving people time to learn about Him, to hear about what He has done for Him, so what He has done for them, excuse me. So yes, Jesus is in control. He knows what He’s doing. That remains the case when challenging things come into our lives. When that bill comes, which we’re not sure how we’ll be able to pay, when that cancer diagnosis comes, or when we get into that car accident on Sherman. Jesus knows what He’s doing because His hands of blessing are still up. They haven’t gone down. One of the ways that He blesses us is by opening the Scriptures to us, just like He did for His early disciples. By letting us understand what the law, the prophets, and the Psalms say about Him, how He had to suffer and die and rise again. The law, the prophets, and the Psalms is the old way of referring to the Old Testament. In other words, the whole Bible is about Jesus. It always has been and always will be. And He uses us as His witnesses to tell others this all-important fact. And the fact that He uses us as His witnesses is amazing. You see, His promises always come true. He said that repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations starting in Jerusalem. And I don’t know if you noticed, but Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a long way from Jerusalem. This is because what Jesus says will always be. That’s why the disciples went away with joy after He ascended. Normally we would expect for people to be sad when they can’t see the person that they love anymore. But it says they went away with joy. They went away with joy because they knew that God had them. They knew that His hands of blessing were still up. They knew that He was still working out everything for their eternal good. And I can imagine that not too long after this when they were being persecuted for the faith, that this image of Jesus blessing them was an immense help to them. Furthermore, it says that they were continually at the temple praising God. But instead of saying continually, a more literal and perhaps better way of translating that phrase is to say, “Through everything.” Through everything they were at the temple praising God. In other words, regardless of what was happening in their lives, they were right there praising God because again, they knew that Jesus’ hands of blessing were still up. He was working out everything for their eternal good. You see, Jesus does not promise us earthly peace. He does not promise us earthly prosperity. He does not promise us earthly wealth. But He does promise us eternal peace in heaven. And He will come back to give us exactly that on the last day when He pulls back the clouds for all to see Him. In the meantime, His hands of blessing are still up. They have not gone down, and they never will go down. But they will remain up blessing us through everything. Amen.