Same Jesus

     Christ has sojourned in the world for thirty-three years; He had endured its scorn, insult, and mockery; He had been rejected and crucified. Now, when about to ascend to His Father's throne--as He reviews the ingratitude of the people He came to save--will He not withdraw His sympathy and love from them? Will not His affections be centered on that world where He is appreciated, and where sinless angels adore Him and wait to do His bidding?--No; His promise to those loved ones whom He leaves on earth is, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."    

     With hands extended in blessing them, and as if in assurance of His protecting care, He slowly ascended from among them, drawn heavenward by a power stronger than any earthly attraction. As He passed upward, the awestruck disciples looked with straining eyes for the last glimpse of their ascending Lord. A cloud of glory received Him out of their sight, and at the same moment there floated down to their charmed senses the sweetest and most joyous music from the angel choir.    

     While their gaze was still riveted upward, voices addressed them which sounded like the music which had just charmed them. They turned, and saw two beings in the form of men; yet their heavenly character was immediately discerned by the disciples, whom they addressed in comforting accents, saying, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." These angels were of the company that had been waiting in a shining cloud to escort Jesus to His throne; and in sympathy and love for those whom the Saviour had left, they came to remove all uncertainty from their minds, and to give them the assurance that He would come to earth again.     

         The Welcome Home.

     All Heaven was waiting to welcome the Saviour to the celestial courts. As He ascended He led the way, and the multitude of captives whom He had raised from the dead at the time when He came forth from the tomb, followed Him. The heavenly host, with songs of joy and triumph, escorted Him upward. At the portals of the City of God an innumerable company of angels awaited His coming. As He approached the gates of the city, the angels who were escorting the Majesty of Heaven, in triumphant tones addressed the company at the portals: "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in!"    

     The waiting angels at the gates of the city inquire in rapturous strains, "Who is this King of glory?" The escorting angels joyously reply in songs of triumph: "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." Again the waiting angels ask, "Who is this King of glory?" and the escorting angels respond in melodious strains: "The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory." Then the portals of the City of God are widely opened, and the heavenly train pass in amid a burst of angelic music. All the heavenly host surround their majestic Commander as He takes His position upon the throne of the Father.    

     With the deepest adoration and joy, the hosts of angels bow before Him, while the glad shout rings through the courts of heaven, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." Songs of triumph mingle with music from angelic harps, till heaven seems to overflow with delightful harmony and inconceivable joy and praise. The Son of God has triumphed over the prince of darkness, and conquered death and the grave. Heaven rings with voices in lofty strains proclaiming, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever."    

     He is seated by the side of His Father on His throne. He presents the captives he has rescued from the bonds of death, at the price of His own life. His hands place immortal crowns upon their brows; for they are the representatives and samples of those who shall be redeemed by the blood of Christ, from all nations, tongues, and people, and come forth from the dead, when He shall call the just from their graves at His second coming. Then shall they see the marks of Calvary in the glorified body of the Son of God. Their greatest joy will be found in the presence of Him who sitteth on the throne; and the enraptured saints will exclaim, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His! He is the Chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely!"   

          The "Same Jesus."

     The most precious fact to the disciples in the ascension of Jesus was that He went from them into heaven in the tangible form of their divine Teacher. The very same Jesus who had walked, and talked, and prayed with them, who had broken bread with them, who had been with them in their boats on the lake, who had sought retirement with them in the groves, and who had that very day toiled with them up the steep ascent of Olivet, had ascended to heaven in the form of humanity. And the heavenly messengers had assured them that the very same Jesus whom they had seen go up into heaven, should come again in like manner as He had ascended. This assurance has ever been, and will be to the end, the hope and joy of all true lovers of Christ. 

ST, November 2, 1904