Summary: Before ascending into heaven, Jesus instructs us to preach forgiveness and the remission of sins to the whole world!
The ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven! It is something we believe in! We affirm this belief as part of “The apostles’ creed” as well as the “Nicene Creed.”
We state in the Nicene Creed, “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”
In The Apostles’ Creed, we say, “He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.” Regardless of which creed we choose to recite they both affirm our faith! We believe that Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and has taken his rightful place.
I like the thought of catholic priest Michael Casey, who wrote on the ascension by saying, “by the mystery of his Ascension, Jesus has passed beyond the limitations of space and time; he is as present now as ever he was in Galilee, though unseen.” I think it is exciting knowing that Jesus Christ is no longer limited in human, bodily form that is subject to “time, space and dimension.”
It is comforting that there isn’t anything in our human world that can prevent him or limit him from interacting with us so that we can develop a loving, personal and intimate relationship with Him.
As a way of developing that relationship, Jesus, gave a command to us before ascending into Heaven. He told us to work at two specific tasks. In verse 47 Jesus says to preach repentance and the remission of sins among all the nations of the world. Let’s look at those two!
Repentance: It was the message that John the Baptist preached, a message we heed to keep from perishing and it is an act that invokes the angels to rejoice in Heaven. That message is Sinners who repent. So, it is doing as Mark 1:15, tells us: “Repent and believe the good news.”
The Greek word means “To perceive afterward.” It means there is a “change” after something has occurred. This word implies “a change of mind or purpose” with the end result of changing course or changing direction.
We need to make confession and repentance a part of our walk with God. Repentance is our way of ending each day in reconciliation. We should always give an account for every one of our SINS the moment of conviction.
This is why we confess in our prayers saying, “we have sinned against you by what we have done and by what we have left undone.” We develop a healthy spiritual life through the practice of repentance.
We join the words of David in Psalm 51:1-4, 7, “Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins! Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin! I recognize my faults; I am always conscious of my sins. I have sinned against you—only against you—and done what you consider evil…. Remove my sin, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”Repentance is a daily action of our lives!
The Second command is teaching the remission of sins. What exactly is that? I can tell you it is liberating and a word filled with hope that we can start over and start on a “clean slate” from any sin we commit.