50 Then He [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them.
51 While He blessed them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God. (ESV)
- The Bible Account of the Ascension
Luke focuses on the visible and tangible of Jesus’ ascension.
He makes the physical aspects of His ascension factual and irrefutable.
He couldn’t be more clear that it was an event in space and time.
Old Testament events pointing to Christ’s ascension:
a. Elijah ascended physically to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2).
b. Moses ascended mount Sinai to receive the Law from God while a cloud covered the mountain where they met (Ex. 24).
c. King David wrote in Psalm 24:3-5: “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his Holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
Neither David nor anyone else qualified, but Christ alone with His clean pierced hands and holy heart. Only He could ascend to heaven as Messiah, preparing heaven for all believers – also Elijah and Moses.
The exalted Christ will draw all the elect of God to Him (John 6).
Because only Luke wrote about Christ’s ascension doesn’t mean that it is not important. It was the climax of His resurrection. It is our risen Lord who ascended to heaven and who now has cosmic domination. The tomb was empty – His body gone, never to be found. His Ascension must be seen as part of His Resurrection. He is now in heaven with a glorified body.
- The Blessings Attached to the Ascension
a. His Performance
He was completely obedient to His Father, completing the Mission He was sent for and received a glorious welcome in heaven (Psalm 24:7-10).
For believers there also awaits a warm welcome in heaven – solely on Christ’s merits.
b. His Place
Jesus is now in the place He went to – on the throne of the universe, at the right hand of God in Zion, the city of God, which is secure forever and ever. It’s a real place – not a mere state. Our deceased loved ones in Christ are there, experiencing utmost delights for all eternity.
c. God’s Promise
Future glory and pleasures forevermore. Moses and Elijah were seen by Peter, James and John on the mount of transfiguration.
d. His Preparation
The Church is Christ’s body, inseparably connected to Him, our Head. He went to prepare a place for us in heaven, which is why His ascension is a blessing.
e. His Position
Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father from where He rules and takes care of us – not at our right hand for our beck and call.
f. His Power
He will one day return from His high throne and will bring heaven with Him to create a new heaven and earth where He will dwell among His people.
The price of our redemption was fully paid when Jesus ascended to sit on the throne of the universe in the presence of God. Here’s the pledge that you and I will also ascend into His presence – every one of His people, even the chief of sinners – all who have fled to Christ for refuge. Our city of refuge (Zion) is now in heaven – everyone (who died) in Christ is now seated safely there. Our presence with God is as certain as Christ’s presence there.
Glory Be To GOD!