Ascended for Us

Posted on 27 March 2008

A one-off study looking at the importance of Christ’s ascension

Ascended for Us: The Meaning and Importance of the Ascension

Stephen Dray, Ferndale Baptist Church, April 2005

The Ascension of Jesus is one of the feasts most often neglected by Christians. True, it does not happen at a weekend and neither is it accompanied by a Bank Holiday. However, it is one of four great events that are usually described as the ‘exaltation of Jesus’: his resurrection, the gift of the Spirit and his current rule in heaven being the others.
It is also clear that not only do theologians think it important but so does the Bible; not least because of the practical consequences of its truth for us. The Bible plainly teaches the bodily ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:9). On the basis of this fact a number of practical consequences are drawn out:
* Jesus’ ascension confirms his divine nature. Both in the OT (Exodus 40:34) and the NT (Luke 9:34f.) the cloud is the symbol of God’s glory and presence. So when Jesus was received into the cloud His divine nature was being confirmed.
* His ascension also confirms his rule over all. Raised to the place of power (Phil. 2:9) he rules (1 Peter 3:22) in majesty (Heb. 2:9)
* His ascension guarantees that we work for a glorious Lord (Matt. 28:18ff).
* It guarantees our future glory (1 Cor. 15:25).
* It gives us great security in an insecure world (Matt. 28:20): ‘all authority’ is given to him.
* It is a basis for great confidence, especially in prayer (Heb. 4:14ff.).
* 7) It guarantees all the resources we need for Christian living and service. See Acts 2:33; Eph. 4:8-12. At the disposal of God’s people is nothing less than the resources which raised Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19f.).
Thus, we do well to reflect upon this marvelous event, revel in its consequences for us and turn back to Jesus in humble but delighted worship!