THE ascension of the Lord Jesus brings to the fore certain points of reflection.
First, Jesus returns to where he really came from. Some 2,000 years ago, Jesus as a man of history lived on earth – in flesh and blood – for about 30 years. But his earthly life was just a speck of his entire life. Jesus as the Son of God lived before the beginning of time. He was with the Father and the Spirit in the creation of the world. He lived then. He lives now. And He will live for all eternity – not anymore in his earthly form but in his glorious heavenly state as God.
Second, in addition to His rising from the dead, Jesus’ ascension proves that he is indeed God. It was by Divine power that he was brought back to life three days after He was crucified. It was by the same Divine power that He ascended back to heaven – “far above every principality, authority, power, dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21).
Third, His ascension sits Him at the right hand of God the father Almighty, where He is clothed with the Divine dignity that He possessed even before the creation. Seated at the right hand of God, He serves as our Eternal High Priest, having offered his body in his sacrificial death once and for all for the forgiveness of our sins and now interceding for our prayers and supplications.
Fourth, ironically, the ascension of Jesus does not make Him absent in our midst, but even more present. As He said, He did not leave us orphans. He left us his and his Father’s Spirit – the Holy Spirit – to be with us, and in us, in our journey from temporal life to eternity. Now He is not only near us; He is dwelling in us, for He made us temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Fifth, just as Jesus left will He come again. “Men of Galilee,” said the two angels on the day of the ascension, “why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven” (Acts 1:11). As Christian believers we nurture this hope of our calling. At the end of this age, Jesus will come again and take his faithful children to the place he has prepared for them – to the Father’s house in heaven where they will spend eternity in peace, joy and love.
Lastly, looking on the ascending Jesus should also inspire us to bring back our gaze on the world around us to share the good news of salvation. The Divine commission is not only for a chosen few but for all of us who profess Jesus as Savior and Lord. Jesus said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Now, if this overwhelms us, Jesus offers consolation and encouragement, “I will be with you always until the end of time.”