What Does Jesus’ Ascension Mean For Me?

The ascension of Jesus is an event that generally receives less attention than Christmas, Good Friday, or Easter. With Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter, we know the life-changing significance they have for us, but what does the ascension mean for us? If we overlook this event, we miss learning some valuable lessons.

Without the ascension, Jesus’ work would be incomplete

In Acts 1:3, we read that during the 40 days after the Resurrection, Jesus spent time talking to the disciples about the kingdom of God. Although He was not with them continuously, He appeared to them at certain times. Throughout the Bible, the number 40 appears in God’s plan in a striking way. 

  • at the time of the flood, God made it rain for 40 days and nights
  • the Israelites wandered through the desert for 40 years
  • when Moses climbed the mountain and came into the presence of God, he was there for 40 days and nights
  • the spies spent 40 days exploring the land of Canaan
  • Goliath taunted the Israelites for 40 days prior to the appearance of David

There are many other examples. Jesus was actively at work for some time after His resurrection, fulfilling His mission here on earth. During those 40 days, He spoke to the disciples and taught them about His kingdom that had begun. He also revealed Himself to a group of over 500 brethren at once (1 Corinthians 15:6). Thus, He provided irrefutable evidence of His resurrection.

Jesus laid the foundation for the gospel that could and should now be proclaimed. In Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18, Jesus explicitly commanded the disciples to proclaim this good news of God’s plan of salvation. They had therefore not traveled around with Jesus in vain, but they now had tasks to fulfill. In order to do this, they needed the power of the Holy Spirit.

The ascension made it possible for the Holy Spirit to come

Reading Acts 1:6-11, we find that Jesus ascended to heaven in a cloud. Why do you think Jesus was taken away before the eyes of the disciples? We can clearly imagine that if Jesus had not ascended like this, the disciples would have continued to wait their entire lives for Jesus to reappear somewhere. His ascension marked the end of His earthly ministry and made the coming of the Holy Spirit possible. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). According to His words, Jesus had to die, rise from the dead, and ascend to heaven before the Holy Spirit could come. The way was now open for the Spirit to come.

We may ask ourselves why it would be good for us that He ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit came? A logical answer is that when the Lord Jesus was on earth, He could only be physically present in one place and at one time. The Holy Spirit, however, works in all continents, countries, homes, families, and hearts at the same time. The great undertaking of saving people was extremely important to God. Therefore, a representative was needed on earth who could assist the children of God in all places, someone who could complete the work begun by Christ in all parts of the world.

The ascension also signifies that Jesus is victorious

If Jesus had not been victorious, He would not have gone back to the Father. The ascension emphasizes Jesus’ triumph over sin, death, and the powers of darkness. We have only a description of what it looked like from Earth below as Jesus ascended to heaven. But have you ever imagined what happened in heaven when Jesus returned, how the heavenly hosts greeted and welcomed the hero, the Lord of Lords?

C. H. Spurgeon elaborated on this thought: “In ancient Roman times, when commanders and kings returned from war, they celebrated their triumph. They would parade through the streets of the national capital with their trophies of victory and great pomp; the inhabitants would occupy the streets on either side and the windows of the houses and sit on the housetops, shouting cheers and showering garlands and wreaths and bouquets on the victorious heroes as they marched along. Without being literal, we can envision a similar triumphal procession taking place when our Lord returned from the battlefield of this earth to His heavenly throne.” “God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet” (Psalm 47:5). “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). Jesus, the Victor, is back, back in glory. Before the foundation of the world, it was determined that Jesus would return to heaven after His work on earth. That is what happened. Jesus, the Lamb, the Son, is worthy to receive praise, honor, and glory.

Since Jesus ascended to heaven, He is the active intercessor for us

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He sat down at the right hand of the Father and took on the role of High Priest, interceding on our behalf before God in His name. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16). He understands our struggles and intercedes for us. We can approach the holy throne of God because Jesus sits next to the Father and advocates for us! Jesus lives, advocates for us, and knows what life on this earth is like. This gives us great comfort! We can confidently bring our petitions to God (Hebrews 4:16).

The fact that Jesus ascended to heaven testifies to the fact that He will return

The Ascension is inextricably linked to the promise of Jesus’ second coming. At the time of His ascension, the angels said to the disciples: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go up into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Jesus will come again, namely in the clouds of heaven, just as the disciples had seen Him ascend into heaven. What a day that will be, when the struggles, burdens, and hardships of life will end forever, when the battle is over and our course is finished!

Just as the moment came for Jesus to return to heaven, the moment will also come for you and me to leave this earth. We are faced with the question: Will we go to the Lord as victors, or will we be eternally lost as sinners? Jesus has completely fulfilled His mission so that you and I can be saved. Accept the sacrifice of Jesus, be obedient to His voice in this life, and then one day you too will be with the Lord in glory. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). There is nothing in this world that would be worth missing this glory!

John Reimer 

Neustädt, Mexico

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