In last Sunday’s sermon, Rick Eisenberg mentioned the ascension of Jesus Christ 40 days after his resurrection. When he ascended, the Lord returned from earth to his Father’s side and sat down as ruler on his throne. Let’s open this up a bit.
The ascension of Jesus helps us in at least four ways.
First, it encourages us as we serve. The very fact that you are serving the Lord is a testimony to Christ’s ascension. “Go into all the world” were among Jesus’ last words just before the ascension. We are sent. At the same time that he ascended upward, Jesus also sent his disciples outward. The two are connected. The ascending Jesus sends his workers into his work. And that’s us. You’ve been sent.
Secondly, the ascension of Christ gives us strength. Jesus did not ascend to the top of Pikes Peak. Christ rose to the control center of the universe, the place of power, the right hand of God, the throne of heaven, the place of power where we receive strength.
Thirdly, the ascension reminds us that Christ is standing beside us in our daily problems. It seems strange that we get more of Jesus because he’s not here (John 16:7). Usually someone is with us when they are…well, with us. But Jesus said that he would be all the more with us if he ascended to his Father. Right as he was ascending he told us, “I will be with you always until the end of the age”. Christ stands beside us.
Finally, the ascension of Jesus reminds us that we have a permanent protector. The ascension event recorded in Luke 24 reads this way – “while he was blessing them, he departed into heaven.” It’s as if “blessing them” was the final thing Jesus was doing as he rose to heaven. The last thing the disciples saw was his priestly protective blessing. The last words they heard were probably something like, “The Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine on you…” What a great final thing to hear – words of blessing, words of protection. Jesus went to heaven while he was protectively blessing his church. That makes a lot of sense. Because that’s the very thing he is doing now. He is our permanent protector.
The ascension of Jesus reminds us that he sent us, he strengthens us, and he stands beside us, and protects us.