Visible wounds

This Sunday, as we celebrate Jesus’ Ascension, we get to sing one of my favorite hymns, “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” The third verse goes:

Crown him the Lord of love, behold his hands and side, rich wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified; no angels in the sky can fully bear that sight, but downward bend their burning eyes at mysteries so bright.

The risen, flesh and blood Jesus was taken to heaven with his wounds still visible in his hands, feet, and side.

And his wounds are still visible in heaven. 

It’s an incredible claim. I get emotional every time I think about it.

When Jesus was raised from the dead his wounds were the proof that it was really him and not somebody else. 

Now Jesus is in the heavenly dimension. He’s glorified, and humanity is glorified with him. 

Meaning us and our wounds. 

Jesus takes all the things we suffer in this life, the hurts, the scars, visible and invisible, and transforms them from hurt into glory. 

I don’t know why there is so much hurt and suffering in the world. Most of it is due to human sin, rejection of God. But in becoming one of us, suffering with us and for us, it has to mean Jesus cares. It has to mean our wounds matter to God.

That’s why he was taken up for us, wounds and all. 

Do you know any retired hockey players? Have you seen them up close? I’m pretty sure they wear their scars and their false teeth as a badge of honor.

The scars say “I did this. I had a full life. I really lived the life of a hockey player.”

If a hockey player’s wounds are a badge of honor, what do you think God can do with our wounds? 

The wounds we suffer in this life become a source of glory in the next. 

The things we’re tempted to cover up in this life become a source of beauty in the next. 

Believers don’t suffer in vain.

Jesus glorifies our wounds, and because of the Ascension, one day our joy will be infinitely greater for the wounds we suffer here.   

Dude Perfect

Their videos have been viewed 11 billion times. Their YouTube channel has 51 million subscribers, making it one of the top ten channels on YouTube

Who are they? Sports stars? Hollywood celebrities? Social media influencers?

They’re five former roommates at Texas A&M who hung out together for Christian fellowship.

About ten years ago they put up a basketball hoop in their backyard and started filming each other making trick shots. Within days, their first video had been seen 200,000 times. They had a dream of taking their newfound passion to a wider online audience, but doing so would mean leaving promising jobs and require an enormous leap of faith. Parents and friends helped them write a business plan and create a professional website. They asked friends to help with their goal of creating a video with a million views, and their friends were happy to help, subscribing to their channel and sharing the video with others.

Did I mention they are followers of Jesus Christ?

Even if you’ve never heard of “Dude Perfect” (In their first video, one of them lined up the camera for a shot and said, “Dude, perfect.”) you’ve likely seen clips of them shooting hoops off skyscrapers. I discovered them this week watching TV with my granddaughters. There’s nothing cerebral about their videos, but they are completely clean.

And their passion, creativity, joy, and love for each other are contagious. 

Many Christians bemoan the media age; some still refuse to go online. No doubt, there is a lot of dark content out there.

This week we mark the Ascension, the day when the risen Jesus returned to God in heaven. If the birth of Jesus was God’s greatest act of God reaching out to humanity, the Ascension was humanity’s greatest act of reaching back to God. In Jesus, humanity was joined to God, and Jesus was no longer limited by time and space. Because of the Ascension, Jesus would now be everywhere in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Because of the Ascension, the infinite passion, joy, creativity, and love of God are available to Christians in every aspect of life, and in every time and place.

There are an infinite number of ways to bring glory to God.

Why should five guys making trick shots have all the fun?