The ASCENSION of JESUS CHRIST. Ascension as used in Christian theology means “to go up” or “take up,” and refers to the departure of Jesus for the heavenly sphere at the close of His historical earthly ministry.
The Ascension as an Event is described in Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:9-11; though it is presupposed more often (John 20:17; Acts 1:2; Eph. 4:8-10; 1 Tim. 3:16). The clue to the meaning of the Ascension-event lies in what it evidently signified to those who had known Jesus both during His historical ministry and in the period following His resurrection. What was needed by the disciples to whom the resurrected Jesus manifested himself was an indication that such appearances were not to continue indefinitely but rather were terminated. This indication the Ascension conveyed.
Theological Implications. Jesus’ departure into the eternal world, of which the Ascension is the symbol, is linked with at least five aspects of His work for men.
- His ascension to the Father is the sign of the completion of His redemptive mission on earth. As such it is directly related to His session at God’s right hand, in which He takes the role of the enthroned, victorious King (Heb. 1:3; 10:12-14), whose final triumph over all His foes is thereby assured (Eph. 1:20; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Pet. 3:22)
- Christ is enthroned not merely as King but as Priest-King (Heb. 10:11), in virtue of which office He exercises a continuous ministry of intercession on behalf of men: not as pleading for benefits which may be refused but rather those to which He has already received title by His victorious death (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1-2).
- The Ascension is likewise connected with Christ’s work as Forerunner (John 14:3; Heb. 6:20). His entry into heaven is the guarantee of our own, demonstrating that transformed manhood in the form of the spiritualized body can inhabit the eternal sphere (Eph. 2:6).
- The Ascension is also the precondition of the giving of the Spirit, whose task is to continue on earth the work formerly effected by the historical Jesus (John 14:16-18; 15:26-27; 16:13-14; Acts 2:32-33).
- Finally the Ascension is the occasion for the angelic assurance of Christ’s second coming, in the words “this Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11, nasb). That the apostolic community did not interpret this as a prediction of Pentecost, or suppose that the outpouring of the Spirit was the second coming of Christ, is clear from Acts 2:33; 3:19-21; 7:55; et al.
We may say therefore that the entire mission and work of the Church in proclamation and accomplishment alike are dependent on the ascended Christ. Beacon Dictionary of Theology
That Jesus was taken up into heaven is a biblical way of saying that he was glorified and is intended to designate a new form of existence. However, the New Testament believers did not dwell on identifying or trying to explain the new form of existence – they just proclaimed Jesus as the ascended Messiah.
Acts 232 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Acts 3 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Acts 5 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.
Acts 7 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Ephesians 1 20 [God] raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Philippians 2 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
1 Tim316 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
1 Peter 3 21 Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
Rev 3 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 2
Heb 9 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.
Today, celebrate The Ascension.
- Look at the art work of the Ascension (google images)
- Contemplate your ascension and reigning with Christ
- Share the good news and your belief with another
- Sing the songs that celebrate the Ascension
- All Hail the power of Jesus Name
- He is Exalted the King is exalted on high
- I See the Lord seated on the throne exalted
- Lord, I lift your name on high