Thursday 10th May was Ascension Day. Forty days after the Resurrection (Easter Day) Christ ascended into heaven.
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundational truth of the gospel. For that reason, the “resurrection” narrative has overshadowed the “ascension” record. But the ascension event is of equal significance.
After Jesus rose from the dead, He “presented Himself
i. Alive” (Acts 1:3)
ii. To the women by the tomb (Matt. 28:9-10),
iii. To His disciples (Luke 24:36-43),
iv. and to more than 500 others (1 Cor. 15:6).
Forty days after the resurrection, Jesus and His disciples went to Mount Olivet, where He promised that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit, and He instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit had come. Then Jesus blessed them and began to ascend into heaven. Luke 24:50-51 and Acts 1:9-11.
i. To receive the glory and honor due to Him
ii. As conqueror of sin and death (Phil. 2:8-11);
iii. To be our Mediator and advocate with the Father (Heb. 9:24);
iv. To send the Holy Spirit as He had promised (John 16:7);
v. and to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
It signaled the end of His earthly ministry. The period of human limitation was at an end. We as Christians are now charged with the responsibility of implementing His will on earth, as He reigns from heaven. His parting words commissioned us to make disciples of every creature among the nations. (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47).
His ascension demonstrates the manner of His final return. The disciples “beheld” Jesus vanishing into the clouds (Acts 1:11b). Luke emphasizes that “in like manner,” i.e., in a visible fashion, the Lord will return. Meaning the Savior’s second coming will be a literal coming.
The ascension of Jesus produced joy among the disciples because they realized the amazing benefits when Jesus returned to the Father. All the promises regarding the Spirit’s ministry to the disciples were about to be fulfilled. Their doubts and fears were gone. They were convinced of who He was. They knew that He died to forgive them of their sins. They knew He was alive from the dead. In His resurrection, they had hope in victory over death.
They trusted Him. For these reasons, Jesus’ departure gave the disciples joy. And so, should it give us joy too, because we are seated with Him in heavenly places, far above principalities and powers!
Ten days after the Ascension is Pentecost! The coming of the Holy Spirit, next Sunday, so, come prepared next Sunday be receive and be filled with the Holy Spirit, and start a new life.
God bless we all, and may our later days be better than the former.
Have a great week ahead.
Your Vicar and Friend
Revd. Canon Kiri Wakama.