Summary: Benefits for believers of Christ in His ascencion.
1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men 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. 4On 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. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
6So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But 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."
9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11"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
Ascension day! What’s that all about? It is a key doctrine of the Christian faith. The passage we just read from Acts 1 gives us the clear account of Jesus taken up to heaven. Sounds so fantastic. Hard to believe. First gotta believe Jesus rose from the grave. He defeated the very thing that afflicts all humanity, death! Resurrection victory! When was the last time you’ve seen anyone rose from the dead and then later beamed up into the sky? Yet, it is part of the ancient Apostles ’ Creed which dates from very early times in the Church, a half century or so from the last writings of the New Testament. This is what’s celebrated in churches today all over the world who believe in Christ. Easter’s resurrection hope, He is risen! This doctrine of Christ’s ascension in the Creed is stated as
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
The Ascension marks the exaltation of Jesus to His rightful place as God-sharing the heavenly throne with His Father.
Why is this doctrine so critical to us? Galen Hackman noted:
We note also in the text before us that the ascension of Jesus was visible and physical. In other words, it was such that it could be witnessed by people. This is significant. Just as it was important for Jesus to be seen following His resurrection, so it was necessary for Him to be seen as He ascended. This visible ascension brought to an end the earthly ministry of Christ. Had His appearances merely ceased, or had Jesus merely vanished without a trace-it would have been easy for the skeptics (then and now) to claim that the post-resurrection appearances (and consequently the resurrection itself) were mere fabrications. As it was, however, the unbelievers had yet another visible, tangible, physical event for which they could find no earthly explanation.