Ascension: Seated With Him

“For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the boundless greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and made Him head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:15-23; all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible).

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Today is the Feast of the Ascension, the fortieth day since Easter. On this day, Christians commemorate Jesus’ ascension into heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

It does not get too much attention. Many churches will not observe the day at all. Some churches will celebrate it on Sunday (which may not be a terrible idea, since some churches may not draw enough attendance at a Thursday night service). Pentecost is ten days away. More Christians will celebrate that.

However, Ascension is worth celebrating. It is more than a single moment in the life of Christ. It was an event that continues to impact the kingdom of God and the disciples of Jesus. The fact that Jesus ascended into heaven highlights a few important truths that should guide our lives.

Jesus has always been God, and He is still Man. He did not leave His body here on earth and float away as a formless spirit. His entire being—including His physical body—ascended into heaven. The Son of God is still the Son of Man.

He is exalted above us, but He is still with us. Jesus gave most of His teaching about the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers either on the night before His crucifixion or during His appearances to the disciples after the resurrection. After He ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within His disciples. During His time on Earth, Jesus could be in only one place at one time. Today, His Holy Spirit is working in and through faithful believers on all continents to proclaim the Gospel of His kingdom. Two of the most significant topics that Jesus taught after the Resurrection were the role of the Holy Spirit and the disciples’ mission to preach the Gospel. They go hand-in-hand. He is still with us, working through us.

“{B}ut you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The Holy Spirit empowers us to do much more than dance, shout, sing, etc. He empowers us to be Christ’s witnesses to the entire world.

Because He is exalted, He has all authority.

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).

He is seated at the right hand of the Father—the seat of honor. God has given Him authority. All things have been placed in subjection to Him. There is one answer Jesus will never give to our prayers: “I’ll see what I can do about it.” He has all authority and power. He can meet every need. If He does not answer your prayers the way you want Him to, it is not because He was unable to do it: instead, it is because He knew what you need better than you do.

We are exalted with Him. This truth might be incomprehensible, but if you accept the Bible as the Word of God, it is right there. Several times, Ephesians 1 mentions that Jesus is seated in the heavenly places. But in Ephesians 2:6, Paul writes that God “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” He seated us with Him: it does not say “He will seat us” or “He might someday seat us.” In a way that is beyond our comprehension or understanding, we are already seated with Him. We partake of His glory.

Our mission as followers of Jesus is to live, think, speak, and act as those who share His glory. It may still take a leap of faith, but it is possible. God Himself assures us that Christ is still with us, His Spirit is in us, and we have the power to honor and glorify Him.

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (Book of Common Prayer).

How can Jesus manifest His power in your life this week? How can you remove any obstacles that might be holding you back from experiencing His power and glory in your life? Share your thoughts below.

Copyright © 2023 Michael E. Lynch. All rights reserved.

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