This Thursday, May 14, 2015, marks forty days since Resurrection Sunday when we gratefully celebrate Christ’s victory over the grave. But for most of us who are Christians Ascension Day is uncelebrated, even unnoticed. We rightly make much of Easter. But it’s too easy to miss this critical event that deserves a bit of hoopla of its own—for at least three major reasons.
- The ascension of Christ signals Jesus’ momentous completion of His Father’s work and will here on earth: the bookend to the pinnacle of human history. Before He ascended to heaven that Jesus fulfilled purposes of preparation with His followers for the church age to come while also fulfilling the precise number of days in God’s divine timeline. We do know His most important words were spoken as a command to His disciples during those forty days: preach the good news to the whole world. The baton was passed from His physical presence in a single location, a single body—to His spiritual and vicarious presence in every tongue, tribe, and nation.
- Ascension Day also signals the beginning of Jesus’ intercession for us before the throne of God (Hebrews 7:25)! Every accusation made by our enemy, the father of lies, is met by the living Christ’s victorious rebuttal before the seat of all authority in heaven. Now that He resides in heaven once again, Jesus power and authority, set aside for us 2000 years ago, are again His possession. What bold confidence that should give all of us who love Him!
- Most exciting for me personally, the ascension signals the commencement of a love- and future-filled promise: “if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3). As I’ve carefully, exuberantly decorated my own home, this idea of a place prepared for me—by Someone who knows the depths of me even deeper than I do—fascinates me. Beyond my imagination, still the simple hope of that beautiful glittering possibility reminds me to anticipate all that lies ahead with expectation and joy. The Ascension was simultaneously a striking ending and a marvelous beginning.
Being reminded of just three of the promises related to Ascension Day has made me want to throw a party! I wish I didn’t lose sight so easily of the hope I have in Christ. Remembering the benefits that are mine because of Ascension Day is a great encouragement to keep looking up because as the angels said to the disciples, “This Jesus…will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
Stay tuned for some creative ideas for you and your family to celebrate this new but old holy-day.