Ascension Day 2

SERMON TOPIC: Ascension Day 2

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 12 May 2024

Topic Groups: ASCENSION

Sermon synopsis: In 1994 South Africa’s new government removed Ascension Day as a public holiday and Easter was officially renamed Family Day.

The ascension signalled the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The Father had lovingly sent his Son into the world at Bethlehem, and now the Son was returning home. Jesus said that he was sent by his Father and must return to him.

“I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” (John 16:28)

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THE ASCENSION

Part of the Nicene Creed (AD 325) states:

I believe … in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;

He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

NICENE CREED

When you try to go to another world, there is incredible danger.

In January of 1967, there was a launch pad test of Apollo 1, which was to be the first flight of a three-man Apollo capsule into Earth’s orbit. 1

1 Kevin Miller, Christianity Today

Somewhere in the capsule’s 31 miles [50 km] of wiring, a wire had been stripped of its insulation. The bare wire happened to be near a cooling line, and there was a violent chemical reaction…

Within seconds, flames spread across the cabin ceiling. At 6:31 pm, astronaut Roger Chaffee said, “We’ve got fire in the cockpit.” A few seconds later, the transmission ended with a cry of pain. All three astronauts died. 1

1 Ibid.

Two years later, when Apollo 11 got ready to carry men to the moon, Nixon’s speech writer William Safire, had prepared a speech entitled “In Event of Moon Disaster” for the President to read on television in the event the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the Moon. *

According to the disaster plan, Mission Control would “close down communications” with the Lunar Module, and a clergyman would “commend their souls to the deepest of the deep” in a public ritual likened to burial at sea. *

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Apollo_11

But thankfully that’s not what happened.

On 20 July 1969, the lunar module landed in the Sea of Tranquility, and Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder onto the surface of the moon.

His iconic words were broadcast: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

About 20 minutes later, Buzz Aldrin followed him by walking on the moon.

Aldrin steps down onto the moon

These astronauts were pioneers and forerunners.

It was the first time a human had ever gone to another celestial body besides Earth.

The return trip took 3 days after the departure from the moon to landing in the Pacific Ocean.

Buzz Aldrin on the moon

The crew of Apollo 11 sits in a raft next to the command module Columbia shortly after splashdown on 24 July 1969.

On their return to earth, the astronauts received a hero’s welcome.

They had accomplished the mission they had been tasked with - and done what no man before them had done.

The human race had accomplished its greatest technological achievement of all time.

There were parades and dinners held in their honour.

President Nixon gave each of them the Presidential Medal of Freedom. What a celebration!

ASCENSION DAY

When Jesus Christ accomplished the greatest act of love and redemption of all time—when he went through the clouds and splashed down on heaven’s shores—what a celebration he started!

He had done it! Jesus had just completed the most dangerous and most important mission of all time. He had faced every temptation but never gave into sin. He stood up to the intense hatred of people with only truth and love.

1 Ibid.

He could have called legions of angels to rescue him, but he willingly obeyed God and fulfilled his mission of giving up his life as a sacrifice to bring people back to God. He defeated the Devil. He destroyed death.

Now he’s returned in victory. The Father welcomes Jesus home and seats him at his right hand, the place of highest honour. He gives all authority to Jesus. 1

1 Ibid.

ASCENSION DAY

The most detailed account we have of the Ascension is given by Luke in the Book of Acts.

Acts 1:1-2 (NIV) In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

Acts 1:3 (NIV) After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. 

 He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Acts 1:4 (NIV) On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”

 “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 1:6 (NIV) Then they gathered around him and asked him: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Acts 1:7 (NIV) He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”

Acts 1:8 (NIV) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Acts 1:10-11 (NIV) They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 

 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:12 (NIV) Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.

The Mount of Olives. The steeple on top is a Russian Orthodox Church of Ascension.

The apostles returned to the Upper Room to await the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:13-14 (NIV) When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying …They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

RETURN TO THE FATHER

The ascension signalled the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The Father had lovingly sent his Son into the world at Bethlehem, and now the Son was returning home. Jesus said that he was sent by his Father and must return to him.

“I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” (John 16:28)

Jesus said to Mary, “… go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father…’” (John 20:17)

There was no sweeter reunion in history than Jesus’ return to his Father! Perhaps the closest analogy might be a courageous soldier returning to his loved ones after a hard-fought victory.

AT GOD’S RIGHT HAND

So where did Jesus go to after he ascended?

Mark 16:19 (NIV) After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

AT GOD’S RIGHT HAND

Jesus told his disciples that he was returning to the Father. But how did they and the gospel and epistle writers know that Jesus was sitting at the right hand of God?

The most quoted verse from the OT in the NT is Psalm 110:1.

Ps 110:1 (NIV) The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

PSALM 110

Psalm 110:1 is alluded to or quoted 22 times in NT. *

Quoted: Matt 22:43-45, Mark 12:35-37, Luke 20:41-44, Acts 2:33-36, Heb 1:13.

Allusions: Matt 26:63-64, Mark 14:61-62, Luke 22:67-69, Mark 16:19, Acts 5:30-31; 7:55-56, Rom 8:34, 1 Cor 15:24-25, Eph 1:20,22; 2:6, Col 3:1, Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12-13, 12:2, 1 Pet 3:21-22, Rev 3:21

* The same Messianic psalm has another verse repeatedly applied to Jesus in the Book of Hebrews. (Psalm 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”)

It is applied to the Messiah by both the Pharisees and Jesus.

Matt 22:41-45 (NIV) While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

What is the meaning of the phrase “The LORD said to my Lord”? Is God talking to himself?

No! The New Testament was written in Greek and both the Hebrew YHWH (Yahweh – the highest name of God) and Adonai are translated as “Kurios” in Greek (and Lord in English).

In the Old Testament Psalm 110:1 has Yahweh (the Father) addressing Adonai (the Son).

NASB

Hebrew

Transliteration

The LORD

יְהוָ֨ה

Yah·weh

says

נְאֻ֤ם

ne·'um

to my Lord:

 לַֽאדֹנִ֗י

adon

The Pharisees believed Psalm 110 applied to the Messiah or “Son of David”.

Jesus asks them why David would refer to his “son” as Lord. They obviously didn’t realise that the Messiah would also be God in flesh.

Thus when Peter quoted this psalm in his message on the day of Pentecost, he concluded by highlighting the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” (Acts 2:36)

In other words he echoes Jesus’ teaching. Jesus is not just the Messiah (Son of David). He is Lord!

Psalm 110:1 is applied by Jesus to himself:

Matt 26:63-64 (NIV) … The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

This explains the High Priest’s response. Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah of Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7.

Matt 26:65 (NIV) Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.

WHY IS ASCENSION DAY IMPORTANT?

WHY IS ASCENSION DAY IMPORTANT?

Set a pattern for his return

Confirmed that he came down

Exaltation

No more limitation

Delivered benefits for us

Accomplished mission

Accomplished mission

Jesus prays to the Father in John 17:4, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”

It indicated success in Jesus’ earthly work. All that he had come to do, he had accomplished. Jesus was leaving because the job was complete. On the cross he cried “It is finished” (Jn 19:30).

He sat down “after he had provided purification for sins” – in other words it means MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Heb 1:3 … After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

1 Tim 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. [The verb, "taken up" is the same verb used in Acts 1:2.]

Should we celebrate the Ascension? Well, all of heaven celebrated the victorious return of the Son of God, who successfully completed his mission. He had paid the price for sin and conquered death.

Rev 3:21 (NIV) “… just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

WHY IS ASCENSION DAY IMPORTANT?

Accomplished mission

Confirmed that he came down

Exaltation

No more limitation

Delivered benefits for us

Set a pattern for his return

Set a pattern for his return

Jesus’ ascension set the pattern for his return. When he comes to set up the kingdom, he will return just as he left-literally, bodily and visibly in the clouds.

“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

Jesus will reign at God’s right hand until all enemies are subdued under his feet.

Acts 2:34-35 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ”‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’

1 Cor 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (Also Heb 1:13)

Heb 1:13 To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” ?

Heb 10:12-13 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool

At his return, the Lord Jesus will execute divine judgment, vindicating his downtrodden people and judging his enemies.

Psalm 110:1-6 The LORD [YaHWeH] says to my Lord [Adonai]: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

The LORD [YaHWeH] will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” … The LORD [YaHWeH] has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord [Adonai] is at your right hand ; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.

He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

WHY IS ASCENSION DAY IMPORTANT?

Accomplished mission

Set a pattern for his return

Exaltation

No more limitation

Delivered benefits for us

Confirmed that he came down

Confirmed that he came down

The ascension (going up to heaven) was proof that Jesus came down from heaven.

John 6:38 (NIV) “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”

When Jesus said he came down from heaven, some took offence at this.

John 6:41-42 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?

John 6:58-62 (NIV) “This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

… On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!

Jesus is saying that his Ascension would be the proof of his coming down from heaven - which is part of the teaching they cannot accept.

WHY IS ASCENSION DAY IMPORTANT?

Accomplished mission

Set a pattern for his return

Confirmed that he came down

No more limitation

Delivered benefits for us

Exaltation

Exaltation

The ascension allowed Jesus’ further exaltation by the Father. He was received up in honour and given a name above all names.

1 Pet 3:21-22… Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Acts 5:31 “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.”

Phil 2:9-11 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord…

Whereas the previous glory of Christ in heaven was dependent upon his person, this added dimension of glory is based upon his completed work.

Eph 1:19-21 … That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

The difference between John’s meeting with Christ in John 21 and Revelation 1 was the glorification of Christ that he received at his ascension.

Rev 1:13-17 (NIV) … and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.

The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.

His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.

In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.

His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

Jesus’s ascension preceded his enthronement in heaven as king. He conquered and sat down with his Father on his throne, where he receives unending praise.

Rev 5:6-13 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne… Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.

They encircled the throne… In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

WHY IS ASCENSION DAY IMPORTANT?

Accomplished mission

Set a pattern for his return

Confirmed that he came down

Exaltation

Delivered benefits for us

No more limitation

No more limitation

The limitation of Jesus was self-imposed.

Phil 2:6-8 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

The ascension spelt the end of the period of Jesus’ human limitation. As a man he got hungry, thirsty and tired - and his knowledge was limited. It marked the return of his heavenly glory. His glory had been veiled during his time on earth, with one brief exception at the Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-9).

John 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

But after his resurrection and ascension, Christ no longer limits himself and exercises all his attributes of deity to their full potential.

Heb 2:9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour…

WHY IS ASCENSION DAY IMPORTANT?

Accomplished mission

Set a pattern for his return

Confirmed that he came down

Exaltation

No more limitation

Delivered benefits for us

Delivered benefits for us

It doesn’t help if Jesus is exalted and majestic, but it doesn’t touch our lives.

The King of England has riches, majesty and honour in Buckingham Palace, but it has very little effect on us.

If there were to be no king, we wouldn’t be affected. That can’t be said about Jesus.

How does Jesus’ ascension and subsequent exaltation to a place of authority benefit us?

Before the Ascension, the righteous dead (like Abraham and Lazarus) were in Hades (cf. Luke 16). Jesus ascended to heaven with the former captives (the righteous dead in Hades) in his procession.

Eph 4:8-10 (ESV) therefore it says, “when he ascended on high he led a host of captives… (in saying, “he ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions [abyss], the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Jesus tells John in Rev 1:17-18, “I am the living one; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of Death and Hades.”

LIBERATION

Jesus’ ascension marks the entrance of humanity into heaven. The Apollo 11 astronauts were forerunners and pioneers in that they went where no man before had gone. Once they had done it, others followed in their steps.

But Jesus did better - he was the greatest pioneer man ever – he was the first man to enter heaven with a glorified body.

Paul noted that for New Covenant Christians to be “absent from the body” is “to be at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). Our entrance into heaven is only possible because “our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Heb 6:20).

THE FORERUNNER

As our forerunner he has become our example.

Col 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Heb 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This inspires us to also be victorious:

Rev 3:21 (NIV) “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

HIS PRESENCE

As Jesus was ascending to heaven, Luke records that he blessed his disciples.

Luke 24:50-51 when he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

Matthew records the last words of Jesus and maybe this was part of the blessing that Luke referred to – “I will be with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).

We might not be able to see Jesus with our eyes, but his presence still remains with us.

Jesus’ continued presence with us is by virtue of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:16-21 (NIV) “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me… The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

The ascension assures us that our future is secure in the hands of the one who descended from heaven. Jesus raises his hands of blessing over us and says he will be with us.

Why did Jesus go back to heaven? Wouldn’t it have been better if he stayed?

It was necessary in order to send the Holy Spirit. While as a man Jesus could only be in one place at a time, the Spirit is able to minister simultaneously to all believers.

John 16:7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

During his earthly ministry Jesus’ work was geographically limited because he had a physical body — he didn’t preach in Israel while healing in Syria. But now he is at work everywhere and able to hear and respond to his people’s prayers no matter the time or place.

Shortly after his Ascension Jesus sent the promised Spirit to empower his disciples for worldwide mission.

Acts 1:8 (NIV) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Speaking on the Day of Pentecost, Peter explains that this was made possible by virtue of Jesus ascending to a position of authority with the Father.

Acts 2:33 (NIV) “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”

Today the Holy Spirit lives in every Christian.

Rom 8:9 … and if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? …

The Spirit empowers us to live for God.

Rom 8:11 and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

The Spirit progressively sanctifies us, making us to be more like Jesus.

2 Cor 3:1-18 … and we all… are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Gal 5:22-23 but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

GIFTS

The ascension resulted in Christ giving spiritual gifts.

Eph 4:8-13 … “When he ascended on high, he … gave gifts to his people.” … So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

PREPARED A PLACE

Jesus’ going allowed him to prepare a place for us.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3)

When Jesus ascended to his Father’s house, he began preparing a place for his bride.

RECEIVES US

Jesus receives our spirits when we die. Just before they stoned him, Stephen had a vision of Jesus and he says, “Look, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56, NIV)

Why was Jesus standing, not sitting (as in the other references to him being at God’s right hand)? Perhaps he was getting up to receive his faithful martyr home.

Acts 7:59 (NIV) While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

What else did Jesus do after he sat down at the Father’s right hand?

The same Messianic psalm, which speaks of Jesus sitting at the Father’s right hand, has another verse repeatedly applied to Jesus in the Book of Hebrews. It shows us that Jesus also took up priestly duties i.e. representing the people to God.

Ps 110:1,4 The LORD [YHWH] says to my Lord [Adonai]: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” … The LORD [YHWH] has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

INTERCEDES FOR US

Jesus continues to work after the ascension. He is our heavenly mediator and high priest.

Heb 8:1-2 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he was not retiring or taking a break. He was simply changing his job description (to put it in human terms).

He had successfully completed the task of dying for the salvation of the world and the Holy Spirit would take on the role of representing the Father and the Son on earth.

Rom 5:10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

How are we “saved through his life”?

By his death he made intercession for us.

Isa 53:12 … because he poured out his life unto death… For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

As our Saviour, he needs to continue functioning as our High Priest to intercede on our behalf when we sin.

Heb 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

Why is he the best possible intercessor?

He is right next to the Father and the close proximity is because he has his favour.

Rom 8:33-34 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Jesus prays for us before the throne of God. It’s wonderful when we discover that people are praying for us. But to be told that Jesus is praying for us in the very presence of the Father, that’s simply amazing!

He knows what it is like to be a human.

Heb 4:14-16 (NIV) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

WHAT THE ASCENSION MEANS FOR OUR LIVES

To sum up: Though often overlooked, the ascension completes Jesus’s earthly mission and signifies his enthronement as heavenly king. Jesus has completed his Father’s mission and he now rules with all authority and intercedes with all sympathy as our mediator and high priest.

Remember that Jesus is presently reigning as king and remains active and engaged in our world and our lives. 1

1 https:// www.desiringgod.org/ articles/ more-than-an-afterthought-six-reasons-jesus-s-ascension-matters

Therefore live boldly, confidently, and strategically as servants of the exalted king of heaven. Know that your labours in the Lord Jesus are not in vain (1 Cor 15:58).

Sufferers, take heart that Jesus is not indifferent to your struggle. He has endured great suffering and is thus the most merciful and sympathetic counsellor and mediator.

Take your cares to your ascended Lord who hears your prayers and can respond with all heaven’s authority. 1

1 Ibid.

Finally hope in a glorious future. The ascended Lord will return as judge and king.

He will abolish injustice, end suffering, and destroy death and set up his kingdom of truth, righteousness and love.

Best of all, we will be with our king forever. 1

1 Ibid.

AUTHOR: Gavin Paynter

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