Monday May 23, 2022 a.d.Pashons 15, 1738 a.m.

He Ascended into Heaven

The Ascension of Christ

St. Luke is the only one who documented the date of the ascension of Christ, and the only one who described the beautiful scene of the ascension, as he writes that our Lord Jesus Christ took His disciples outside of Bethany, to the Mount of Olives, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them (Lk. 24:50) then He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9)

Oftentimes, clouds where a sign of the presence of God, as in the prophesies, “He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. He rode upon a cherub, and flew; And He was seen upon the wings of the wind.” (2 Sam. 22:10,11), “He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, who makes the clouds His chariot, who walks on the wings of the wind.” (Ps. 104:3), “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13,14)

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I May Know Him and the Power of His Resurrection

Christ Opening Paradise

Before the Resurrection of Christ, all people feared death because they had never yet heard about “resurrection,” until the advent of Christ, who died on the cross and was buried; but it was impossible for Him to be captured by death. This was the same with all the prophets of the Old Testament. He rose from the dead, destroying the sting of death and through His Resurrection He conquered Satan who had the power of death, as St. Paul said, ”In as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14, 15)

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Why the Resurrection?

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is one of the most important Christian doctrines, upon which many other doctrines depend. It is a great miracle and a unique event, like the virginal birth of Christ. Such event hasn’t happened in history and will not happen in the future: a person rising from the dead by His own will and power as He foretold prior to his death.

Christ’s Resurrection Proves His Divinity

He rose because He is God, and because He is God He rose by His own authority since it is obvious that the dead person is normally not able to rise by himself. It proves His divinity since death is a consequence of sin and its punishment, while Christ alone is holy, pure, perfect and sinless; therefore death has no power over Him. Therefore, since He died voluntary and willingly, for our salvation, He also rose by His will and authority. St. Paul emphasized this fact by saying, “… and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Rom 1:4)

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Judas The Betrayer

Judas in the Gospels

Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon (Jhn13:2), was one of the twelve disciples chosen by the Lord Christ. He was called “Iscariot”, which means “a man from Kerioth” referring to his city (Josh15:25) or it may means “a murderer”. This name is used to differentiate him from Judas, one of the Lord’s brothers (Matt13:55; MK6:3) who was one of the disciples, and was called “Judas, not Iscariot” (Jhn14:22) and “Judas the brother of James” (Lk16:6). Judas Iscariot witnessed the marvelous miracles of Christ, which proves His divinity, heard His spiritual teachings, and listened to His responses to the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Lawyers who tried to entangle Christ in His talk. Judas watched the way Christ dealt with His beloved and enemies, followers and disbelievers, repentant sinners and those who trusted in themselves that they are righteous. It was clear to Judas the meekness and humbleness of Christ, beside all other virtues in its perfection.

The Good Master chose Judas to be one of His disciples, in spite of His previous knowledge about Judas’ wicked nature, as Christ said, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve” (Jhn6:70,71). Like the other disciples, He sent Judas to preach; Jesus gave him the authority to cast out demons and to heal the sick (Matt 10:1). Jesus also gave him the special responsibility of carrying the donation box, spending from it for the needy, and buying the disciples’ necessities as for the Passover feast (Jhn13:29). Although Jesus knew that Judas did not care about the needy because he was a thief (Jhn12:6), Jesus tried to let Judas get rid of his greed and love of money. Christ also did not reveal Judas’ crimes; He didn’t expose him before the other disciples, He didn’t withdraw the box from him or cancel his responsibility, but he kept this responsibility till his death. Jesus did not reject Judas’ discipleship even after agreeing to betray Him, but He let him to attend their gatherings, and to know His news as one of the near by. It was obvious that Judas was very near to Christ on the table that he was able to dip his hand with Him in the same dish (Matt26:23). Out of His humility, the Lord washed Judas’ feet in love, equitable to the other disciples.

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The Cleansing of the Temple

Driving out all who bought and sold

The cleansing of the temple is a proof of an authority that was exercised by Christ on that day. An authority that no one was able to contest, or stop Him. He cleansed the temple with complete authority, with strength and firmness:

  • “drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple” (Mt 21:12)
  • “and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves” (Mt 21:12)
  • He told the people, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ bu you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Mt 21:13)
  • And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. (Mr 11:16)
  • And as St. John says in an earlier place, “He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!’” (Jn 2:15,16)

This shows us that Christ who is meek, was also firm. This event shows us how Christ had a perfect and balanced personality, which combined all the virtues together. For, He being gentle and lowly in heart (Mt 11:29) can become very firm when the circumstances call for it, as it happened on that day… He was firm in a way that they have never seen before, and His firmness was combined with teaching, as He said, “It is written ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer.’” This way He corrected what was wrong.

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