May 09, 2019

A Vision of the Ascended Savior

John 6:45-51, 60-65

“What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!

—  John 6:62

It may seem easy, at first, to follow Jesus when we hear his promise of forgiveness, salvation, and new life for us. We naturally latch onto Jesus’ words of encouragement and reassurance.

But Jesus is not some sort of a divine cheerleader. He is the Savior who gave his life for our sake. In our Bible reading for today, Jesus has pointed out the victory he would win, explaining that salvation comes only through his “flesh and blood.” But that is not a message that sits easily with us. We have a natural desire to try to save ourselves rather than to rely on the bread of life that Jesus gives “for the life of the world”—by laying down his own life, his own flesh and blood.

Jesus demands total surrender to his authority and to the gift of the salvation we cannot earn for ourselves. The ascension makes clear that Jesus has this authority. It shows that he is truly God, and it is from that place of authority that he sends the Spirit to all who believe.

As followers of Jesus, we listen not only to his words that are easy to hear; we listen also to his words that call for a challenging obedience. We put our trust for salvation not in ourselves but in Jesus’ flesh and blood, given willingly by our heavenly Lord at great cost.

Jesus calls us to give of ourselves willingly for his sake. Can we accept that?

Father, help us to believe! Holy Spirit, strengthen us for obedient living! Lord Jesus, speak your words of authority to us, that we may accept and follow you. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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