The Ascension of Jesus
THE ASCENSION OF JESUS
Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus took the eleven disciples to the Mount of Olives, blessed them, and was lifted out of their sight into the clouds of the air. Two angels appeared to them and announced that Jesus would come in the same manner as they had just seen him depart (Acts 1:9-11).
The ascension of Jesus is not discussed as much as His death, burial, and resurrection. However, this amazing event should not be overlooked or reduced to a footnote in the life and ministry of Jesus. It was very important.
1. It provided evidence that Jesus is the Messiah. The Jews were always asking Jesus for a sign that would prove His identity. The day after Jesus fed the 5,000, the people wanted Him to feed them again. They hinted at this by asking for a sign and speaking of Moses feeding the fathers with bread from heaven (John 6:30-31). Jesus identified Himself as the bread of God who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world (v. 33). The multitude had a difficult time understanding Jesus, and He further frustrated their understanding when He said, "What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before?" (v. 62).
Our Lord's ascension was one of many pieces of evidence that proved He was the Son of God. If He had failed to ascend back to "where He was before" He would have failed to complete His work and confirm His identity.
Jesus made several predictions about the things He would experience (Matt. 16:21). If any of these had failed to come to pass, Jesus would have been exposed as a false prophet (Deut. 18:18-22). The fact that He ascended into heaven is just as significant as the fact that he was rejected by the Jews, delivered to the Gentiles, put to death, and raised on the third day. Jesus was proven to be a true prophet of God.
2. It enabled Jesus to serve as our High Priest. The High Priest of Israel would enter the Holy of Holies (representing the presence of God) on behalf of the people once a year. It was there that he would make atonement for the sins of the people, but the fact that these sacrifices had to be repeated proved they did not fully remove sins.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He entered the presence of God to serve as our High Priest, making intercession on our behalf. "For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb. 9:24). Jesus is a better High Priest because He has entered the actual presence of God with a better sacrifice – His own blood. This gives us confidence that our prayers are being heard and answered (Heb. 4:14-16).
3. It was necessary for Jesus to become King. When did Jesus actually become King? In Psalm 110:1-2, the Messiah was promised to be given a place at God's right hand from which he would rule. Jesus sat down at the right hand of God when He ascended into Heaven (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33-36). This is when Jesus began His reign as King.
The coronation of Jesus as King took place in heaven immediately after His ascension. Daniel received a vision of this wonderful event. "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14).
Jesus is not going to return to earth to be made King to reign 1,000 years. He was made King when He ascended into Heaven. It was then that He was given dominion, glory, and an everlasting kingdom that will never be destroyed. Jesus is now reigning as King over His kingdom.
Conclusion. The ascension of Jesus is an important part of the gospel (1 Tim. 3:16). It was necessary to make Him a Prophet, Priest, and King. Because our Lord has ascended into heaven, where He is ministering to our needs and reigning as our King, we can have confidence that He will come back and receive us into His glory.
ARE YOU MISSING BIBLE CLASS?
Are you one of those who has drifted out of attending Bible class? We are all creatures of habit, good or bad. Form good habits and good things can happen - and of course, vice versa (Gal. 6:7-9). Has it become a habit for YOU to 'skip' Bible study but come to worship? Which of the following fits you?
1. I come to Bible study every once in a while. .
2. I used to come but have quit.
3. I don't need to come. I know enough already.
4. I don't think it's important.
5. I really ought to come but I'm out of the habit.
6. I really want to come, but just haven't done it yet.
While you are pondering the categories let's see if you disagree with or dismiss the following Biblical principles:
1. Every Christian needs to grow. (2 Pet. 3:18)
2. God's word causes us to grow. (1 Pet. 2:2)
3. In time we should be able to teach others. (Heb. 5:12-14)
4. We should grow and help others grow by being together. (Heb. 10:24-25)
5. We have personal responsibility to share with others of our time, influence, talents, and knowledge. (Eph. 4:16)
It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions - never completed. The road to heaven is paved with good intentions; immediate action. and consistent effort. Why not get on the right road now? Start attending Bible classes regularly! The soul you save may be your own.