One of the advantages of the digital audiobook or E-reader is that they cannot have pages disappear on you. I am one of those people who still prefer to feel the book in my hand when I am reading. There is nothing more frustrating than reading a book only to find the last page or few pages are missing. I guess few of us would even start to read a book if we knew it would be cut short. Yet with Jesus, we sometimes do something very similar, celebrating his resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost, but virtually overlooking his Ascension. One reason for this, perhaps, is that our account of the Ascension is caught in a time warp, reflecting the cosmology of days gone by. God is seen as ‘up there,’ and so Jesus is portrayed as vanishing up into heaven as the disciples stare stupefied into the sky. Such language serves to obscure the underlying message of Ascension as surely as the cloud hid Jesus from the Apostle’ sight.
If the details of what happened are a mystery, the significance is clear enough. This was a watershed moment for the Apostles when they realized, for the first time, the full magnitude of who Jesus was. They had followed him during his ministry, believing him to be the Messiah; they had rejoiced at his resurrection, greeting him as the risen Lord; but now they realized that he was the Son of God, the King of Kings and Lord of all. Don’t forget Ascension Day! Above all, remember what Ascension Day means, for it reminds us that Jesus is more significant than words can express – sovereign over all. It gives us the complete picture without which our faith is infinitely the poorer.
Do you feel a sense of awe in the presence of Christ? You worship him not just as a friend by your side through his Spirit, but also the one enthroned in splendor? We need to remember that Jesus, having taken human form, humbled himself to total obedience, even to the point of death – death on a cross. For that reason, God highly exalted him, giving him the name that is above all others, so that at the name of Jesus every being in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Perhaps this could be your prayer this week?
Lord Jesus Christ, remind me of all that you are and equip me to live to your glory, until that the day when I kneel n your presence and join in the worship of heaven, to the glory of your name. Amen. (Nick Fawcett)
Shalom to you my friend,