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DayBreaks for 3/18/15: The Ascension’s First Ten Feet
When I am lifted up I will draw all people to myself. – Jesus, John 12:32
People like to be exalted, to be lifted up and become visible for their achievements and deeds and intellects. I suppose it is a normal part of the human condition that we are so self-seeking. But it’s not a good part. Even Jesus talked about being lifted up – but he had something far different in mind than seeking something for himself.
If you are tempted to take Jesus’ statement from John 12:32 to be referring to something flashy and glitzy, John goes on to stick in a little commentary in verse 33 to clarify the “lifting up” Jesus had in mind: it was being lifted up with nails in his wrists and feet – it was the cross. The day would come when Jesus would be lifted up again at the time of his ascension into heaven, but I think it is entirely fair (and appropriate) to say that the first ten feet of the ascension came on the cross. Jesus’ upward journey started when the Roman soldiers hoisted him up skyward at the Place of the Skull, but it certainly wouldn’t stop there. It continued when he was lifted up again from the dead…and once more when he lifted off from the mountain top to return to the Father.
In this, as in all things, Jesus is teaching us: if you want to fly off into glory with Jesus, you’ve got to be part of the first ten feet of the trip as well. As Scott Hoezee put it: You can’t prop up a stepladder on the side of the cross, climb it, and then meet Jesus at the top for the balance of the journey to glory. You’ve got to be crucified with him. You have to be the kernel who gets buried into death with him. “Where I am, my servant will also be.” But as a servant, it is not up to you to pick and choose the times and places you want to be with Jesus. You are with him always and everywhere or you are with him never and nowhere.
We look forward to having our bodies lifted up out of the grave when He comes again with a shout and in great glory. It’s the first ten feet that are the hardest. The question is: will we take that part of the journey or not?
Philippians 2:8 – And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Read that again carefully: it was precisely because of those first 10 feet of Christ’s rise to glory that the rest of his journey took place, and it is precisely the reason that God has given him a name above every name.
PRAYER: Jesus, we want to be partakers of your victory and to receive the glory that you have planned for us…but we aren’t so anxious about those first ten feet. Please, PLEASE…give us courage to climb the cross and hang there with you as the starting point of our journey! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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