ASCENSION – SATURDAY
LESSON: PSALM 47
Thou didst ascend the high mount, leading captives in thy train, and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there. Psalm 68:18
All the prophets were very careful to describe the ascension of Christ and His kingdom. As His dying and death are deeply embedded in Scripture, so also is His kingdom, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. One must understand Christ’s ascension into heaven correctly; otherwise, it is powerless and sapless.
Of what use is it to preach only that He has ascended and now sits up there in idleness? The prophet wants to tell us more here in the psalm. Christ ascended into heaven, he declares, leading captivity in His train. This means that He is not only sitting up there on high but that He is also down here on earth. He ascended on high to be present here on earth, so that He might be able to fill all things and be present in all places. This He could not do during His earthly sojourn, for all eyes could not then see Him.
He sat down where everyone can see Him and where He can deal with everyone, fill every creature, be present everywhere. All things are now filled by Him, and there is nothing so great in heaven and earth that He does not exercise authority over it. Everything must do what He wills and no more. He not only rules and governs all creatures (for thereby my faith would not necessarily be helped or my sins taken away) but He has also led captivity captive.
SL 11:942 (30)
PRAYER: Help us to realize the wonderful blessings and assurances which are ours, Lord Jesus, as a direct result of Your ascension into heaven. You are indeed Lord of lords and King of kings, present with us everywhere. In us sinners, however, dear Lord, let Your ascension be a guarantee that You are sin’s conqueror, having led captivity captive. Grant us the full realization of all this, in Your name. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 3:180-194.