DONE DEAD OR DONE GOOD?
“He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight.” –Acts 1:9
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He mounted “His throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts” (Ps 47:6). All the angels and saints were giving Jesus a “prostrate ovation” in recognition that He, the Lord of lords and the King of kings, had accomplished the plan of salvation.
The apostles shared in this worship of the glorified and enthroned Christ, but they “had entertained doubts” (Mt 28:17). On the cross, when Jesus said: “It is finished,” His disciples probably thought that He was saying His life was over rather than that God’s plan was fulfilled. When Jesus ascended, no one had a new nature, no one was a child of God, no one had the Trinity dwelling in him, and no one had the power to make disciples of all nations (see Mt 28:19). Why would the ascending Jesus be acclaimed in heaven when He left so much unfinished business?
Because God the Father through Jesus sent within a few days the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ ascension was right on time. In the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ disciples were baptized, received a share in the divine nature (2 Pt 1:4), were dwelling in the Trinity and the Trinity in them, and were made holy, royal, priestly, chosen, and powerful to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Pentecost makes Jesus’ ascension glorious rather than bewildering. Let us devote ourselves “to constant prayer” for the coming of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:14).
PRAYER: Father, in the Spirit may I do my part in Your plan.
PROMISE: “It is like the strength He showed in raising Christ from the dead and seating Him at His right hand.” –Eph 1:19-20
PRAISE: Praise the ascended Jesus, “seen by the angels; preached among the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up into glory” (1 Tm 3:16).
Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.