Ascension Day: A festival day often overlooked. Yet this event is critical in the entire scheme of God’s salvation.
It had been 40 days since Jesus rose from the dead. But now, he leaves the disciples with a promise. He “ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father.” But this is not a resting, inactive position, nor is it a physical location. Rather, the right hand of God is the position of power, power to rule, power to speak through His Word, power to bring salvation through Baptism, power to come to us with His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.
Thus, Jesus did not ascend to be away from us, but to be with us. That was His promise earlier when He gave the Great Commission to the disciples (Matthew 28:16-20 HCSB).
The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizingd them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
So, here is the Ascension account according to Acts:
I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day He was taken up, after He had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:1-11 HCSB)
May our ascended Lord, be Lord in our hearts as well.