If you were to make a list of the most significant events in the life of Jesus, you would certainly include His incarnation, death, and bodily resurrection. But there is another most critical event that often goes unappreciated and, perhaps, misunderstood. Forty days following His resurrection, the Word of God tells us that Jesus ascended to the Father and reclaimed His rightful place in heaven at the right hand of God. The Gospel-writer Luke gives us two glances at this most amazing episode. The first is in Luke 24:50-53. Then, Luke records the ascension in greater detail in Acts 1:9-11.
Even though the Lord’s ascension seems to be somewhat understated in the New Testament, it is nevertheless one of the fundamental truths of Christianity. In fact, John Calvin referred to our Lord’s ascension as being among “the chief articles of the faith.” And you might also remember its prominent place in the Apostle’s Creed. When we recite it, we confess our belief that Jesus, following His resurrection, “ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”
But what is so important about this historical fact from the life of our Lord? Why is His ascension a vital component of the Gospel, so much so that, from the earliest days of Christianity, followers of Jesus all over the world have been confessing their belief in it?
On Sunday we will examine Luke’s account of the ascension in Acts 1:9-11. We will try to comprehend its significance both as an essential Christian doctrine, and as a most comforting and reassuring truth set forth in the Word of God.