SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
COMPREHENSION OF THE ASCENSION
(Mark 16:19) So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
Jesus ascended to the Father forty days after His resurrection and His ten post-resurrection appearances. It concluded the earthly ministry of Jesus and allowed eyewitnesses to see both the risen Christ on earth and the victorious, eternal Savior returning to heaven to minister at the right hand of the Father. But what happened after that and does it have any meaning for us today? Is there any worth in the comprehension of the ascension?
There was a prediction of the ascension way back in Psalm 68:18: You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive... Enoch and Elijah experienced an ascension and these would foreshadow Christ's (Gen 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11). Jesus predicted His ascension: (John 20:17) Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father... The event of the ascension is recorded in three places in the New Testament (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11). It is also recorded in the Nicene Creed and Apostle's Creed of the early church.
Ponder the significance of the ascension for believers today:
- It shows the work of Christ is finished. When your work is done you usually sit down!
- Christ now becomes our heavenly advocate: (1 John 2: 1) My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
- Jesus had to ascend to send the Holy Spirit: (John 16:7-8) Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
- Jesus now prepares a heavenly place for His own: (John 14:2-3) In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
- We are now drawn to place our affection on heavenly things instead of earthly things: (Col 3:1-2) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
- It gives us hope that we will join Him in glory: (Col 3:4) When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
- The ascension guarantees His "descension" (what goes up...must come down!): (Acts 1:11) ...“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
It's nice to mention the ascension. I hope it will give you the lift you need!