The Ascension of Christ
Last Thursday was the official celebration of Ascension Day, when Jesus Christ ascended to heaven after his death and resurrection. It seems many pay little attention to Ascension Day. But what is the reason we keep celebrating the Ascension Day?
To see why we celebrate, we must look at Acts 1:9-11. From this passage, we have two reasons to celebrate:
Christ’s Ascension into Heaven (v.9)
He ascended visibly
The Bible says the disciples witnessed with their very own eyes. What a privilege! Jesus could have simply walked away, and later disappeared into heaven, but He chose to let those closest to Him see Him leave. His visible ascension is important for two reasons:
It reminded the disciples of His promise that He would go to heaven to prepare a place for them and that He will come again. (John 14:1-3; John 16:22); and
It increased the faith of the disciples. The disciples had witnessed Jesus fulfil His promises to come to Earth; to die; to rise again; and to ascend to Heaven. The disciples (and we) know that the same Jesus will certainly fulfil His promise to come again. (1 John 1:1-4)
He ascended suddenly
Before Elijah went to heaven (2 Kings 2:1-18), he had told his servant, Elisha, that he was going; and even though Elisha knew, he was still not prepared for such a sudden and spectacular event. The disciples knew Jesus was going to leave them physically and suddenly. The Bible doesn’t really say why. But the angels affirmed the disciples not to stay there watching the space where Jesus had disappeared into the clouds, but to carry on the mission Jesus commanded them to do.
His Promise to Come Again (v.10-11)
His return will be visible
The angels said, “...This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” So, then, when Jesus returns, His return will be a visible return. It is confirmed by the revelations in the Bible when Jesus is coming back for His church at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16-18) and His return to judge the earth (Mark 13:26).
His return will be sudden
Jesus said in Matthew 24:42 that we should keep watch because we never know what day our Lord will come. For Christians, there has to be a certain urgency that we should live for Him and witness for Him.
His ascension reminds us that His departure brings us closer to Him. His ascension also gives us hope that one day we will see Him again face to face. This is not something we should be scared of as Jesus has promised to be with us until the end of the age through the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. We should celebrate ascension with great joy!
Thank You that You are God who always fulfils your promises. We know that our time on earth is brief. May we be inspired to spread the Your Gospel in word and deed. And Holy Spirit, please help us to remember this glorious event when Jesus ascended to Heaven; to always seek what is above, that is Heaven, when He is seated at the right hand of Our Father.
In Jesus’ name we pray,