Seventh Sunday of Easter
(Sunday in Ascension Tide)
Acts 16:16-34, Ps 97:1-12, Rev 22:12-14, 16-17,20-21, John 17:20-26
The Lord is King! Let the earth rejoice! Let the furthest coastlands be glad. (NLT).
The world we live in is a troubled world faced with unprecedented challenges such as HIV/AIDS, climate change, global warming, hunger, social economic disturbances where many economies around the globe have virtually collapsed and more recently, we have witnessed the emergence of the pandemic disease. COVID-19 or Corona Virus Disease which was seen for the first time in the year 2019, and many other natural disasters such as torrential rains, drought in some parts of the world, etc.
The texts under consideration is all about God’s sovereignty over all the nations and God is not only the God of Israel but God of the whole world. And His authority to judge all nations is based on the fact that only God can judge without prejudice. In order that God stand just, judgment must come on all people (Hebrews 9:27). No matter what situation we find ourselves and where ever we are we should not panic for God the Father and God the Son, Jesus – Christ, are firmly and fully in control of the creation and what is happening around it (Psalm 97: 1–6)
Therefore, all of us should rejoice because God is in control (Hebrews 1:3).
As we joyously celebrate one of the greatest and most spectacular events of human history, the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, we need to constantly remind ourselves that:
- God reigns and He is in full control of the universe (Psalm 97: 1 – 12).
- God still intervenes in our every day situations and at the point of our needs (Acts 16: 16– 34).
For instance, in the Acts of Apostles chapter 16:16 – 34 we are given 3 situations.
- Situation #1 – the girl slave deliverance from demonic oppression which was fully exploited by her masters as she was telling fortunes (Acts 16:16-18).
- Situation #2 –the imprisonment of Paul and Silas! After delivering the girl slave from the bondage of telling fortunes and making money for her masters the two servants of the Lord Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown into prison. But even then, they did not stop from praising God and singing hymns to Him. And God caused a great earthquake and Paul and Silas were set free (Acts 16: 25 – 28).
- Situation #3: The jailer’s salvation [Acts 16: 27 – 34] God intervened in the life of the jailer through Paul and Silas’ imprisonment and their being set free after the sudden earthquake. However, the jailer was able to recognize the fact that these two men (Paul and Silas) were no ordinary men but messengers of God Himself. Realising his state of hopelessness, the jailer cried for his salvation. (v30).
Similarly, God, the Almighty God can save us from difficult situations such as the current pandemic disease COVID 19 through raising people who will be working tirelessly to find an effective and long-lasting vaccine against the pandemic disease and in any other extreme situations at His own time.
God knows all our needs.
Being God incarnate, Jesus Christ was fully aware of the sense of emptiness and hopelessness of his disciples and those believers who would come after them. Hence Jesus realised their need for strength, unity and oneness in him and in one another in order for them to carry on effectively with the work which Jesus had began! He also knew that unity, oneness and love for one another were cardinal for the spreading of the Gospel to the world. He further realised that he was able to accomplish his work here on earth because he and God the Father are one. It is for this reason that he offered that prayer in John 17; 20 – 26.
The Ascension also reminds us of two things:
• The fact that Jesus ascended into heaven abd he will come again as the Scripture clearly says (Acts 1: 9 – 11).
• The fact that when Jesus comes for the second time, he will come to judge the world. When Jesus comes in judgement:
(1) He will bring condemnation to those who have refused to turn away from their sinful way of life.
(2) However, His coming in judgment is always a blessing to the Saints of God.
(3) When He comes at the end of time, we, Christians, will be delivered out of the hostile environment in which we now dwell, for the environment of this present world will be terminated. The reward, therefore, that Jesus brings is relief from the environments in which we, Christians live that make it difficult for us to have peace (Revelation 22:12 – 14, 16 – 17, 20 – 21).
To this end the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gives us strength, and enhances our faith, confidence and hope in him for a better tomorrow and therefore this should make us alert and prepared all the time because when he says, “I am coming soon!” he simply means he is coming anytime. We should continue to pray for one another and support one another in good times and bad times. We should continue to do what is expected of us as believers.
-Rev. Esther Milandu Mundemba, The United Church of Zambia
Our God and our Redeemer in the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we pray for your strengthening us in this troubled world as your children so that we will not lose heart because you are God who reigns with Jesus Christ.
Father help us to remember that you are in control of every event that takes place around us for it is according to your divine plans.
We also remember the body of Christ, the Church throughout the world especially members of the larger family C.W.M. wherever they are located to remain united in the body of Christ.
Father, we pray for the sick. May they find healing in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.
We remember before thee, victims of floods, wars, COVID-19, the homeless, the refugees. May they find comfort and warmth in your presence.
We thank you dear Lord for the discovery of the vaccine against the pandemic disease. May it be effective and long-lasting.
We also remember those who have lost their dear ones. May you comfort them enough, surround them with your love and tender mercies in the might name of Jesus Christ, thy dear Son.