May 9, 2013
READ: Mark 16:19-20
When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honour at God’s right hand (v.19).
There are three major events in Jesus’ life that most Christian churches commemorate with special services: Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ incarnation and birth; Good Friday, commemorating His crucifixion and death; and Easter Sunday, celebrating His resurrection—His coming back from the dead. Some churches include Pentecost Sunday as the church’s birthday. There is, however, one important event that is forgotten by most Christians: Ascension Day—the day Jesus was taken into heaven. For some reason our Lord’s return to heaven is not given the prominence in the church that it deserves.
In a search and rescue mission, the mission is considered successful when the rescuers return safely to the home base with the person they set out to find. Similarly, there had to be an end to Jesus’ ‘in-person’ rescue mission.
Jesus “came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). His work of redemption on earth began with His becoming a man (Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 2:17). His death by crucifixion provided salvation for all who believe in Him (Romans 3:23-26; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). God the Father accepted His sacrifice for our sins by raising Jesus from the dead (Rom. 4:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:14-18; 1 Peter 1:21). The resurrection confirms the sufficiency and efficacy of His death (Rom. 6:4-11; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 3:21-22).
Jesus was taken to heaven because His work on earth was completed. “Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honour next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept His authority” (1 Peter 3:22).
Exalted and glorified, Jesus continues His intercessory work for us as our High Priest (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:24-25) and Advocate (Heb. 9:24; 1 John 2:1). And now He’s preparing heaven for all true believers! (John 14:2-3). Are you ready?—K.T. Sim
Read Luke 24:47-53 and Acts 1:1-11 to find out more about Jesus’ return to heaven.
Jesus’ ascension was His exaltation and His return to His eternal glory (John 17:4-5). What can you do today that will give the event the prominence it deserves? How should you help others remember this important event?