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Jesus’ Ascension

Greg Strand – May 9, 2016 2 Comments

God’s unfolding plan of redemptive history culminates in the Lord Jesus Christ, both his person and his work. In the Bible this redemptive history is captured in some key turning points in Jesus’ life. The Bible highlights the following: (1) incarnation, (2) perfect life, (3) death- burial, (4) resurrection, (5) ascension, (6) session (being seated at the Father’s right hand, and (7) return in power and glory. The writers of the Scriptures teach these truths in that Jesus is Israel’s promised Messiah, the one fulfills all the Scriptures (Matt. 5:17-20), the one in and through whom all the promises of God are fulfilled (2 Cor. 1:20).

Although there is no biblical mandate for how these key redemptive events of Jesus are remembered or celebrated in the church, that we remember them as biblical truths is essential, and that these works of God and our experiences of these truths ought to lead to thanks and praise to God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

For some who follow the Christian year, yesterday was the day they remembered the redemptive historical event of Jesus’ Christ’s ascension. We use it as a time to remember this key biblical truth of the work of Christ.

In God’s redemptive work, Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:9) was to be seated at God’s right hand (Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22) and to engage in intercession for believers (Rom. 3:34; Heb. 7:25). That is Jesus’ present ministry and our glorious experience.

Here are a few additional essays focusing on some of the “implications” of Christ’s ascension and also some of the “benefits” we receive from Jesus’ ascension. I include just the lists, and encourage you to read the whole essay.

Steve Mathewson, 5 Ways the Ascension Benefits You, states Jesus Christ’s ascension is critical to the redemption story. Collapsing the ascension into the resurrection means we miss many important truths of Christ’s work and benefits we receive as believers. He lists five.

  1. It establishes Jesus as the reigning king over all powers in all ages.
  2. It gives us access to God’s throne for mercy and grace.
  3. It provides an Advocate on earth whose presence is limitless.
  4. It gives us the spoils of Christ’s victory—gifted leaders and spiritual gifts.
  5. It keeps us longing for his return.

Mathewson concludes,

Now you know why Jesus disappeared. His ascension wasn’t merely an exclamation point at the end of the resurrection; it provided his followers with power, grace, mercy, presence, gifts, and anticipation enabling them to advance his mission.

Jared C. Wilson, 5 Things The Ascension Means, reminds readers that the ascension is an essential aspect of gospel doctrine. He lists five implications of Christ’s ascension.

  1. Jesus is really alive.
  2. Heaven is thicker than earth.
  3. God’s plan for human dominion of earth is being realized.
  4. The Incarnation is an enduring miracle.
  5. The ascension is gospel for sinners!

Kevin DeYoung, Happy Ascension Day, focuses on three ways Christ’s ascension benefits believers, looking to the Heidelberg Catechism (Question and Answer 49) for insight.

  1. First, Christ’s ascension benefits because we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). Our Lord Jesus in heaven pleading our case, so that whenever Satan accuses us in our conscience or dates to lay a charge against us before the Father, Jesus, Christ, God’s own Son and our flawless advocate, stands ready to defend us and plead His own blood for our sake.
  2. Second, Christ’s ascension benefits us because we now have our own flesh in heaven; our lives are hidden with Christ who dwells in glory above (Col. 3:3-4). Christ’s flesh in heaven is a guarantee that ours will be there too someday.
  3. Third, Christ’s ascension benefits us because we get the Holy Spirit as a result.

In sum,

The good news of this holy day is that Jesus Christ is exercising the dominion that man was made to have from the very beginning (Gen. 1:28). The ruin of the first Adam will be undone by the reign of the second. Because of Christ’s ascension, we know that the incarnation continues, Christ’s humanity lives on in heaven, the Spirit lives in our hearts, and a flesh-and-blood, divine human being rules the universe.

Jesus’ Ascension

Greg Strand – May 10, 2013 Leave a comment

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:

  1. Jesus continues to work after the ascension.
  2. The ascended Lord Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to his people.
  3. Jesus’s ascension is his heavenly enthronement as King.
  4. Jesus’s ascension is his return to his Father.
  5. The ascended Lord Jesus is our heavenly mediator and high priest.
  6. 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.

  1. Remember that Jesus is presently reigning as king and remains active and engaged in our world and our lives.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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!