Christians don’t often emphasize the ascension of Jesus.
We rightly celebrate and remember His birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. We even emphasize and remember the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost, but we rarely celebrate or think about his ascension.
The ascension is found only one time among the four Gospels. Luke ended his gospel account with the ascension of Jesus and the disciples coming back to the temple praising and glorifying God (Luke 24). The ascension is alluded to a number of times in the New Testament in other books and is prominently mentioned at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles.
Why is the ascension of Jesus important?
First of all, the ascension shows us the completeness of the work of Christ. On the cross Jesus declared, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). The New Testament writers remind us that the Lord is now seated at the right hand of the father, making intercession for the saints. When Jesus came to earth, He completely accomplished all that He had been sent to do. The ascension of Jesus makes that fact very clear.
Second, the ascension reminds us of the continuing work of Christ, that is, to make intercession for the Saints and to prepare a place for us (John 14: 1–6).
Third, the ascension of Jesus affirms the continuing work of God and His presence in our lives by the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings us the constant presence of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ dwelling in the life of every believer. He is the constant presence of God for the saints. The Spirit also gives the power of God to those who do the work of God. Jesus, in effect, told his disciples to simply stay in Jerusalem until the gift of the Spirit was bestowed upon them. The Spirit empowers the work of God’s people who testify of the resurrection of Christ.
Finally, the Ascension of Christ points us to His return to the earth. “Men of Galilee, . . . why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1: 11).
As we celebrate the resurrection, let us also celebrate the entire Christ event. This same Jesus who was taken up into heaven is coming again for all those who trust in Him.
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