Volume 12, No. 5 (May 2017)
Thursday, May 25 is Ascension Day ( and Sunday, May 28, therefore celebrated as Ascension Sunday), commemorating the physical ascent of the risen Christ to the Father’s right hand in heaven, 40 days after Easter.
The cosmic significance of the Ascension is often overlooked, after the joyous celebration of the Resurrection dissipates in the weeks following Easter. But the Heidelberg Cathechism (Question 49) highlights some of its consequences for us:
“How does Christ’s ascension into heaven benefit us?
First, He is our Advocate in heaven before His Father. [Rom 8:34; I John 2:1]
Second, we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that He, our Head, will also take us, His members, up to Himself. [ John 14:2; 17:24; Ephes 2:4-6] [As John Duncan put it, “The dust of the earth is on the throne of the Majesty on High.”]
Third, He sends us His Spirit as a counter-pledge, [ John 14:16; Acts 2:33; 2 Cor 1:21, 22; 5:5] by whose power we seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, and not the things that are on earth. [Col 3:1-4]”
TESTIMONIES OF THE ASCENSION
John 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify Me in your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed.”
Acts 1:9 And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.
Acts 2:32-33 “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”
Acts 7:55-56 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Eph. 1:20 [God] worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.
Phil. 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The writer of Hebrews declared
Heb. 10:12 When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Rev. 5:6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.
PROFOUND IMPLICATIONS OF THE ASCENSION
Jesus guarantees our eternal salvation.
Heb. 7:25 He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
He prays for us.
Rom. 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
He leads our worship.
Heb. 8:1-2 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, One who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister [literally, “liturgist”] in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.
We are raised with Him.
Eph. 2:6 and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
We are to live for Him.
Col. 3:1-2 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
We can boldly seek His help.
Heb. 4:14-16 Since then 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 is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.