As we follow the Christian year, we remember that this Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ ascension. Christians in the United States observe Ascension Day on the 40th day of Easter, or 39 days after Easter Sunday, which technically is not Sunday, but it is the day it is corporately remembered and celebrated.
Jesus’ ascension is . . .
- biblically true: Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3; 7:25; 8:1-2; 10:12; 12:2; Revelation 3:21.
- historically true: Jesus ascended from among the disciples and before their very eyes. Having seen him, fellowshipping with him and worshiping Him, the ascension marked the transition from Jesus’ earthly appearances to being seated at the Father’s right hand.
- confessionally true: The Apostles’ Creed notes that “He [Jesus] ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Our EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 4, Jesus Christ, affirms that Jesus “ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.”
Jesus’ ascension has important implications for Jesus and for believers. Brian Tabb, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Bethlehem College and Seminary, concludes that the ascension is “More Than an Afterthought: Six Reasons Jesus’s Ascension Matters.”
Here are those “Six Reasons,” simply listed:
- Jesus continues to work after the ascension.
- The ascended Lord Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to his people.
- Jesus’s ascension is his heavenly enthronement as King.
- Jesus’s ascension is his return to his Father.
- The ascended Lord Jesus is our heavenly mediator and high priest.
- The ascended Lord Jesus will return as King and Judge.
With these six foundational truths about Jesus’ ascension, Tabb concludes with four implications for believers.
- Remember that Jesus is presently reigning as king and remains active and engaged in our world and our lives.
- Therefore live boldly, confidently, and strategically as servants of the exalted king of heaven. Know that your labors in the Lord Jesus are not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
- Sufferers, take heart that Jesus is not indifferent to your struggle. He has endured great suffering and is thus the most merciful and sympathetic counselor and mediator. Take your cares to your ascended Lord who hears your prayers and can respond with all heaven’s authority.
- Finally hope in a glorious future. The ascended Lord will return as judge and king. He will abolish injustice, end suffering, and destroy death and set up his kingdom of truth, righteousness and love. Best of all, we will be with our king forever.
We worship our ascended Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right Hand of the Father, and who will one day return in great power and glory to “judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord.”
This coming Sunday I encourage you to remind God’s people of Jesus’ ascension and the truths and implications associated with it!