Ascension Day = exaltation

The Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:5-11, reminds us of Christ’s humiliation, in that the divine Son of God was born a human, suffered, and was obedient unto death by dying on a cross.  Now lest we should forget, it also reminds us that the Father has highly exalted His Son, so that his Name is higher than anyone’s name and that all creation will now bow down to Him, to the glory of the Father in heaven.  

On Thursday (May 21st) Christians remember Ascension Day.  Christ’s resurrection followed by His ascension reflects the first two steps of Christ’s exaltation.  Christ’s resurrection and ascension are among the two most important events for Christians to celebrate and are central to the Christian faith.  The resurrection from the dead reminds us that Christ has defeated death and made full restitution for our sin.  We no longer need to fear God’s wrath for our sin, for Jesus’ resurrection proves that the Father was perfectly satisfied with the payment made (Rom 4:25).

But the ascension is no less important.  Just imagine rising from the dead and there is no heaven!   Just imagine if the cycle of sinful living would start all over again.  That would be disastrous.  So thankfully, the Scriptures record for us, not only the resurrection, but also the ascension, where Jesus is now seated at the Father’s right hand, a position of absolute authority.  And being in heaven with the Father, means we have an intercessor in the very throne room of heaven, we have our own flesh in heaven (Jesus rose and ascended with a glorious physical body) guaranteeing our own physical resurrection to be with our Saviour in glory, and we have the blessing of the Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our own future resurrection into glory. 

We can be certain of this glorious reality for Scripture testifies to it. Acts 1:9-11 reminds us that Jesus is coming again; “…This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”   Jesus prayed that we may be with Him in John 17:24,  “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”  The Apostle Paul had a glimpse of heaven when he writes in 2 Cor 12:2-4; “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven….whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows, and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter”(cf 1 Cor 2:9).  

Likewise, the Apostle John writes in Revelation 21:1-5; “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away ….  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man …. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new….write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

We have an exciting future to look forward to, because our Saviour rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and one day soon, we shall be with Him in glory.  Now that is something to celebrate and look forward to.  JZ.