The Cutting Room Floor: It Was Before Your Very Eyes
One of the greatest challenges for any preacher is deciding what not to say. Once we’ve taken the editor’s knife to our work, we’re left with a mess of material strewn about the cutting room floor. These posts are my way of sharing some of what couldn’t be said in Sunday morning’s sermon.
Today’s post follows our 2/16/20 sermon on Acts 1:6-11 – “The King Ascends His Throne” To listen, click here.
As always, it was my privilege to share God’s Word with you yesterday morning. Together, we saw that our risen and ascended King has poured His Spirit out upon the Church and invited us to play our part as He expands His kingdom through the word of our testimony.
To witness is to speak to what we know on the basis of what we’ve seen—both literally and figuratively. In the case of Christ’s Ascension (Acts 1:6-11), Luke wants us to know that these earliest witnesses did see Jesus whisked away with their very own eyes:
- The apostles looked on as Jesus was lifted up (v. 9a).
- He was taken out of their sight (v. 9b).
- After His ascension, the apostles gazed into Heaven (v. 10).
- The two angelic messengers asked why they were looking up (v. 11a).
- The angels said that Jesus would return in the same way they saw Him go (v. 11b).
The testimony of Jesus’ representatives is central to the unfolding plot of Acts. What Luke is saying here is that this testimony isn’t a witness to the apostles’ subjective feelings. This isn’t a bedtime story—a feel-good tale about the way Jesus sits on the throne of all our hearts. No, this ascension is a matter of objective, historical reality. If you were there, you would’ve seen it, too.
Why does that matter? For many, the disciples’ experience of a risen and ascended Lord is just a matter of wishful thinking gone public. All this talk of Jesus’ rising and ascending is just a way to express how much of an impact Jesus had on His followers. Whatever it is, it isn’t literal.
But Scripture will have none of that. The same Jesus whose broken flesh entered the grave got up and walked out with a glorified body. The risen Christ who appeared among His disciples— walking, talking, eating, and teaching—ascended into Heaven and took His seat at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33). And all this happened right before they apostles’ very own eyes.
This week, you and I have been given the privilege to bear witness to the crucified, risen, and ascended Christ. We weren’t there when they crucified our Lord, but we are still eye-witnesses. For, it was ‘before our very eyes’ that He was publically portrayed as crucified (Gal 3:1).
So, go out this week and speak to what you have seen. Christ is risen. He is ascended. And from His glorious throne on high, He has poured out His Spirit to make us all brand new.