You may not know, but today, believers from all corners of the planet are celebrating Ascension Day. Today, we give thanks to God, that forty days after his resurrection, Jesus returned to Heaven. We all know why we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. We wouldn’t forget to thank him at Pentecost for the gift of his Spirit. But what is the significance of Ascension? There are multiple things we could note, but are just five glorious truths.
- That Jesus is ruling and reigning over all things
Even in contemporary society we hear people speak of someone’s ‘right hand man’. Timothy Keller says of Jesus “He controls all things for the church, and therefore you can face the world with peace in your heart . . . he’s at the right hand of God as the executive director of history, directing everything for the benefit of the church. If you belong to him, then everything that happens ultimately happens for you.”
- That Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was accepted by the Father
The writer of Hebrews informs us that Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3). Students of the Old Testament will know that there was elaborate furniture in the temple. There were however, no chairs. The reason was simple. The work of the priests was never ending. Their lives and ministries were a perpetual cycle of sacrifice due to the ongoing sins of God’s people. However, Jesus is pictured as ‘seated’. As Jesus proclaimed on the cross. It is finished (John 19:30). Praise God, there was no……and is no payment outstanding against your sin or mine.
- That Jesus remains a man
Notice that Paul writes to Timothy, “There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5) Isn’t that glorious? Jesus remains fully man, just as much as he has always been fully God. It is little wonder then that we are encouraged by these wonderful words; “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.“ (Hebrews 4:15)
- That Jesus remains busy
I once decided to preach one Sunday morning message titled, ‘What is Jesus doing today?’ It ended up stretching over three weeks! However, the one I want to bring to your attention is that today, Jesus is preparing a place in Heaven for all those who trust in him (John 14:2-3). Wow, if Jesus has been busy preparing a place for two-thousand years I can’t imagine how highly will rate on Trip Advisor. Can you?
- That one-day Jesus will return
Luke narrates the story of Jesus’ ascension in the first chapter of Acts. Here we read that the disciples looked up intently as Jesus was ‘taken up in a cloud’ before their eyes. Then two men, presumably angels, appeared to them;“Men of Galilee,” they said, “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). There is a day that God has determined the Lord Jesus will return. However, he hasn’t given us a specific date for the diary or an electronic invite via our online calendar. Instead, he has called it someday. So, although we don’t yet know which day, we trust that it will be soon!
Praise God for Jesus’ ascension.
Yours and His,