Today is Ascension Day, a major festival of the church year–on a par with Christmas and Easter–but it doesn’t get much attention these days. Prof. Joel Biermann of Concordia Seminary gives us “seven reasons to rejoice on Ascension Day.”
From Joel Biermann, posted at Concordia Publishing House: Bibles, Christian Books, Church Supplies, Lutheran Curriculum & more:
1. Jesus ascended so that the Holy Spirit could descend.
The Spirit is the promised “other Comforter” essential to the life and growth of the Church—no Holy Spirit, no Church, no faith, no salvation. Jesus ascended to send the Spirit.
2. Jesus reigns now over everything.
He has been enthroned at the Father’s right hand, and the full glory of the Godhead is His. The ascension is His coronation ceremony and highlights the splendor and authority of Jesus over every king, ruler, and nation.
3. The ascension was the plan from the very beginning.
Just as the passion and resurrection were predicted in the Old Testament, so too was the ascension. Jesus’ extraordinary visible ascent is the essential capstone of his earthly ministry.
4. Jesus ascended bodily.
Joined eternally to true God, a true human body is the object of honor and worship. This has profound impact on our understanding of God’s nature and also human nature. The material aspects of God’s creation are very good and endure forever.
5. The commission announced by Jesus is now in full force.
Just as a death must precede the implementation of a will, so the ascension of Jesus must precede the implementation and empowerment of the command to the disciples (you included) to witness the reality of Jesus to the world.
6. The ascension of Jesus is a preview of the promised consummation.
At the Last Day Jesus will return as He went: physically and visibly. It will not be a “spiritual” or metaphorical return, but an actual coming of His physical body. No one is going to miss it.
7. Jesus is Lord.
Not only did Jesus come back from the dead, but He now reigns on high. He is Lord of all creation. He is Lord of your life.
HT: Paul McCain