Ascended, Gift-giving Savior
Lord Jesus, You lived, died, and rose again. Today I celebrate Your ascension as King over this world.
Read EPHESIANS 4:7-16
 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”  (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,  to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat are the goals for the leadership gifts listed here?
When my boys were young my ministry would occasionally take me to other cities and countries. Much to their delight I would always bring back a special gift for each of them. That brings to mind the theme of this passage: a returning triumphant King bringing back gifts to his subjects.
Paul refers to the ascension in vs. 7-10 connecting it to Psalm 68:18. It is generally regarded as a messianic psalm and compares Christ to an ancient king (presumably David) returning victorious from battle and giving gifts to his delighted people. Today we celebrate Ascension Day which occurred forty days after the resurrection. Jesus returned to heaven and entered the presence of the Father (Mark 16:14, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9). This ended his earthly visible ministry and prepared the way for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit (John 16:5-7).
When David’s greater Son, Jesus, the victorious greater king victorious over sin, death, and Satan, ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit then came giving spiritual gifts to God’s people. In the same way, Christians receive spiritual gifts from the risen and exalted Christ.
Read over the gifts of the Spirit; Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, 1 Peter 4:10-11. Ask God to reveal your gifts.
Gift-giving Lord, I pray the Spirit will empower me as I use my spiritual gifts in Your service. I want You to be glorified.