Celebrate Jesus’ Ascension!
“And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
It is a fact
Have you ever wondered about the reality of Christ’s ascension into heaven? Have you ever wondered why Christians would make such a big deal out of it? I mean, what comfort can there be in having Jesus Christ in heaven? Let’s first establish that the ascension is a fact and not fiction or myth. Right there in the sight of His disciples Jesus was taken up from the earth into heaven. We would like to know more of how this happened but the Bible has very little to say on the subject. The Bible does, however, state it as a fact; there were witnesses. Of course, some might say, it’s nice to believe that benefit or comfort can be derived from Christ’s actual ascension into heaven, but what good does it really do for us today? Doesn’t this doctrine of Christ’s ascension actually make His followers orphans?
The Master Himself answered that objection, when His own disciples were saddened and frightened by the prospect of His leaving. John 14:16 states, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…” Jesus promised His followers that even though He would be away from them physically He would nevertheless be with them by His Holy Spirit. This is remarkable comfort to those who believe. By the power of His Spirit we may seek the things that are above where Christ is and not be overly concerned with the things that are on earth.
Sometimes Christians are accused of living “other-worldly”, having little or no concern for this life. However that is not what is meant by “not overly concerned with things that are on earth.” What is meant is that we will not be easily persuaded to take our eyes off heaven by the mundane. We will not be easily frightened by wars and rumours of war or by natural disasters or evil or violence. We know that in all these things our destiny is not in danger but that God is able and willing to bring all things to a good purpose for those who love and trust Him (Romans 8:28). We keep our gaze on Him.
Keeping our gaze on Him has implications for the things we do in this life. Our work is not an endless, tedious, meaningless drudgery but a way of serving Him. Our play is not so much a “me-first”, self-gratification but a way of honouring Him. Our whole life becomes meaningful and joyful. We may live life to the full because Jesus is in heaven and has promised to make a place ready for us too! We should celebrate His ascension as much as we celebrate His birth and His death.