Friday August 14th 2020

What is the Significance of the Ascension?

The Significance of the Ascension

The ascension is the climax of the story of Jesus and the key to understanding the church. The ascension effectively connects the story of Jesus with the story of the church.

The early church recognized the significance of the ascension. It is found in every major creed. For example, the Apostles’ Creed:

He ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,

What, then, is its significance?

Jesus and the Ascension

The Ascension of Jesus back to the Father is utterly crucial in salvation history, although perhaps the least understood.

We can typically grasp the importance of Christ’s death for our sins and know that it is of the utmost significance that he is risen from the dead. However, the Ascension can tend to elude our grasp.

When Jesus ascended to the Father he did so with the fullness of his humanity which he took on in the Incarnation. This means that when Jesus goes back to the Father he does so with his body.

This means that Christ reigns in heaven with his body. If we get to heaven Jesus will have the resurrected, glorified body. At the end of time when each person experiences the resurrection of his or her body, we will be able to touch the glorified body of the Lord.

This is how much God loves us. The Father sends the Son to become like us in all things, taking on a human soul and a human body, never to get rid of them. What the Second Person of the Trinity does in the Incarnation is irrevocable. He has become like us in all things, and will stay like us.

Also fundamental to contemplating the mystery of the Ascension is to recall that when Adam sinned the Garden of Eden was now closed. This represented the fact that heaven was closed to all humanity. No one in the history of the world had entered heaven. Jesus, true God from true God, takes on human nature and ascends into heaven so that we now might have access to the true Promised Land.

In Jesus – the Word-made-flesh – God fully shares in our humanity, bearing our sin, in order to raise humanity to the heights of divine glory. Now, BECAUSE OF JESUS, a human can fully share in the divine life and love God and making it possible for us to go to heaven.

Jesus after his Ascension sent the Holy Spirit to be with us.  We are still united to Jesus, through the Spirit. It is “in Christ we have access to the Father through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18). Our salvation, therefore, depends upon our continuing union with the risen Christ through the Holy Spirit.  In the Holy Spirit, the distance between us and Christ is collapsed. The Spirit unites us with Christ in the “heavenly places” (see Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; Colossians 3:1-3). This collapsing impacts our entire experience of time, space, and matter:

  • In the Spirit, time is collapsed in that we presently possess eternal life.
  • In the Spirit, space is collapsed in that the presence of the risen Christ is available everywhere, although we await the time when we will see him face to face.
  • In the Spirit, matter is collapsed in that the presence of the risen Christ is experienced in the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, although we await the final marriage feast of the lamb.

Where is the Church?

“Where is the church in its relation to the ascended Lord?”

Jesus is alive and continues his kingdom work in the church through the Spirit. The church derives its primary identity and mission from its ongoing relationship with the risen and ascended Lord through the Spirit.

Jesus’ marching orders are simple and succinct: “You are my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). “The church’s essential calling and task is to bear witness to what God has done and is doing in Jesus.”

The message is for all people and all nations:  “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20). But we must begin by proclaiming and living the message in our own backyard.  Our goal is best stated in the prayer our Lord Jesus taught us: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Through obedience to Jesus, our longing is not simply to “go to heaven” but to bring heaven to earth through our faithful witness in word and deed.  We are not on our own.  Jesus is alive, present among us through the Spirit and in the church.

We must never forget this. It is easy to fall into the error of believing that because the Lord is not visible, he is not present – that we are on our own. But the truth is that Christ is present here today. He is the head of the church. This is his church – Christ’s church. It’s not my church or your church. We must answer to Christ, and seek to faithfully follow him in all things.

 

Reader Feedback

61 Responses to “What is the Significance of the Ascension?”

  1. I like what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my personal blogroll.

  2. Amy says:

    Asking questions are in fact good thing if you are not understanding something fully, except this post gives pleasant understanding yet.

  3. yeezy 350 says:

    This is the best weblog for anybody who desires to seek out out about this topic. You realize so much its nearly hard to argue with you (not that I really would need匟aHa). You undoubtedly put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, simply great!

  4. I used to be able to find good info from your blog articles.

  5. If some one desires expert view concerning blogging afterward i advise him/her to go to see
    this blog, Keep up the nice work.

  6. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am
    a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have developed some nice
    methods and we are looking to swap strategies with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.
    adreamoftrains website hosting services

  7. 123helpme says:

    I savour, result in I discovered just what I
    was taking a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  8. xbry says:

    I think this is among the most vital information for
    me. And i am satisfied reading your article.

    However should remark on some common things, The website taste is ideal, the articles is actually excellent :
    D. Just right activity, cheers

  9. kd shoes says:

    I have to get across my appreciation for your generosity in support of women who really want help with your concern. Your personal commitment to getting the solution up and down ended up being particularly invaluable and has encouraged men and women just like me to get to their aims. Your informative help can mean a lot to me and extremely more to my mates. Thanks a ton; from all of us.

  10. Attractive portion of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually
    loved account your weblog posts. Any way I will be subscribing
    to your augment and even I success you get entry to consistently rapidly.

Leave a Reply