“While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:51)
Christians around the world will celebrate Ascension Day on 26 May 2022. Ascension Day is always on a Thursday (sometimes called Holy Thursday). While Ascension Day is not a major event in our Singapore churches, interestingly it is a public holiday in Indonesia. All Indonesian churches will mark Ascension Day with services and joyful celebrations. I want to reflect what the Ascension of Christ means for us today. There are five essential truths about the Ascension that give us great hope in our pandemic-stricken world.
First, Jesus has returned to the Father (John 14:12; 16:28, 20:17). Jesus stressed that when He returned to the Father, He would enable us to do even greater things. Jesus’s Ascension means that we are now entrusted with His mission in the world.
Second, Jesus is enthroned in the heavenlies (Daniel 7:13-14; Rev. 3:21). In His Ascension into heaven, Jesus took his rightful place on the throne. He is our King and Lord. Three times in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15-16; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). The phrase refers to the supreme power, rule, and authority of Jesus. No one can compare to His strength and authority. His rule is established.
Third, the Holy Spirit is sent to us (John 14:16-17, 16:7; Acts 2:32-33). The Holy Spirit comes to teach us and convicts the world of sin, indwells us and fills us; He is our source of revelation, wisdom, and power; He gives spiritual gifts, seals us as God’s possession, helps us in our weaknesses and intercedes for us; He gives us eternal life, sanctifies us and enables us to bear good fruit in our lives.
Fourth, Jesus is interceding for us (Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1). After His Ascension, Jesus is not “taking a break” from ministry. His work continues in heaven. He intercedes for us as our High Priest so that we can find comfort, strength, peace, and to grow in holiness. He prays for us when we sin and speaks to the Father in our defence.
Fifth, Jesus will come again (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11). When Jesus left His disciples, He promised that He would return. Meanwhile, there are things we must do as we wait His return. We are not supposed to be standing looking at the sky and not doing anything. We are to be busy about God’s work, and the extension of His kingdom. We need to do this patiently while waiting for Jesus’ second coming. This is our Christian hope.
May Ascension Day renews your hope in our Lord Jesus.
Rev. Dr Timothy Chong