This Sunday the event will be celebrated in many churches, but today is the day! (40 days after Easter) Too often we rush past Easter and neglect this crucial, climactic, culminating event in the earthly ministry of Jesus (and transition to His continuing ministry).
The ascension of Jesus is His going back to the Father to prepare a place for us. It is His being enthroned as King of kings at the Father’s right hand. The ascension is Jesus’ exaltation above every name that is named. The ascension is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as our eternal High Priest and mediator. The ascension is Jesus’ mandatory leaving so He can send a Comforter. The ascension is Jesus’ real absence so that he can be with us to the end of the age. It is paradoxical, it is mind-blowing, it is huge.
This is that festival which confirms the grace of all the festivals together, without which the profitableness of every festival would have perished. For unless the Savior had ascended into heaven, His nativity would have come to nothing… and His passion would have borne no fruit for us, and His most holy Resurrection would have been useless.
Completely prodigal in His love for us, the Son spent all He had. He faced complete humiliation and the dereliction of being cut off even from the sense of his Father’s presence on the cross. Then, in the ascension, He returned home, ragged from His sojourn with us. The Father embraced Him with joyful relief and acceptance, enfolding the Son’s humanity into the robes of His presence.