I can remember it very clearly, as if it were yesterday. I was seated in a room with nearly 500 elderly people, listening to a presentation of the significance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The man speaking was also drawing an elaborate picture with chalk pastels. I had heard many of the “facts” before, I had even heard some of the stories, but I had never really understood the significance of Jesus ascending into heaven.
Recently, on May 26th, was the celebration of what western church historians call Ascension Day; the celebration of Jesus being carried or taken up into heaven. (The story is recorded in the books of Mark, Luke and Acts.) I am reminded how on that evening many years ago I came to realize that when Jesus ascended into heaven, it opened the way for me to have a relationship with Him, the living God-man – and nothing has been the same ever since.
Do you believe that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after He was crucified and killed? Jesus’ ascent brought great joy to His disciples, though it meant they would never see Him again (Luke 24:52). It was, and is, great news because it points to the fact that He is going to return. Angels declared, in Acts 1:11, that just as Jesus ascended into the clouds, so also one day He would return on the clouds. This means we will get to see Him when He returns. Jesus’ ascent means that His life and sacrifice was in fact received by the Father. Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven (Colossians 3:1). His ascent was a kind of seal of approval from heaven.
His substitutionary payment for our sin was received. You and I who believe are spiritually free; our accounts are “Paid in Full.” Jesus’ ascension means that He does, in fact, always live to intercede for us. (Hebrews 7:25)
He’s alive, and He is seated in heaven, and He prays for us! There is no one I would ever want more to pray for me than Jesus. You can rest assured in life when you really understand the intercession of Jesus on your behalf.
Jesus is the first fruit of a new creation. His resurrection and His new body point to our resurrection and our coming new bodies. And … His ascension points to our ascension; our coming rapture. “The dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
He has ascended! You can know Him today and one day you can ascend and be with Him.
Now what greater hope is there than that?!
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