I must admit I’ve never celebrated Ascension Day; that is until this week. How unfortunate is that?! The ascension of Jesus is the ultimate culmination of his work on the cross on behalf of the world. He died to be resurrected, he was resurrected to be exalted at the Father’s right hand. We celebrate Easter, but Easter culminates with the Ascension.
Ascension is celebrated by the Church on the Thursday between the sixth and seventh Sunday’s after Easter. It is ten days before the Day of Pentecost (next Sunday). Often churches celebrate Ascension also on this seventh Sunday.
The message of the Ascension is that twofold. First, the ascension of Jesus means he is Lord over all (Eph. 1:21-23). Second, the ascension means that Jesus’ priestly work on our behalf continues eternally (Heb 9:24).
Let’s remember today that the man, Jesus of Nazareth, confirmed to be the Son of God by his being resurrected, has been exalted to God’s right hand. It is this person, the resurrected and exalted Son of God, whom we worship, whom we follow, and whom we seek to pattern our life after. It is this Jesus who we believe will return in glory at the end of the age to restore all things (Acts 1:11); and it is for him that in the meantime we bear witness through our testimony to the message of his kingship and his continuous and gracious work on behalf of humanity.Prayers
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Messiah 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.
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to the place where our Savior Messiah has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting Amen.