Thursday: 14 May, 2015 –– Ascension Day
Living in the Ascension
On this Ascension Day we reflect on our Lord’s physical departure from this world and his return to the Father. The Ascension is important both for Jesus himself and for us.
The Ascension was important for Jesus because he is God. It was a return to his status prior to his humiliation (see Philippians 2:6–11). In the Ascension we see Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Ascension was important for Jesus because he is Man. The Ascension brought closure to his work of redemption. In his Incarnation, Jesus forever joined humanity to divinity. In his Death, Jesus atoned for the sins of Adam’s race. In his Resurrection, Jesus proved the triumph of life over human death. In his Ascension, Jesus opened the way for a redeemed and still-physical humanity to have an eternal existence beyond the boundaries of this world as we know it.
The Ascension is important in a special way for us. As Jesus ascended to heaven and took his place at the right hand of the Father, he has the premier role of Intercessor and Mediator for his people. As our Great High Priest, the wounds of his hands and feet and side constantly plead for mercy.
The Ascension is also important for us because it establishes our identity even as we live in this world. As surely as Jesus, our Head, has ascended to heaven, we––Christians, the members of his Body––already have our place in heaven. The Body is connected to the Head, and so St Paul admonishes the Colossians (and us): if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (3:1–3). The Ascension is the culmination of our baptism. Those who have died with Christ share with him his place in heaven.
This means the Ascension shows us that this present world is not all there is. As we live in a world that tries to dominate our affections and desires, we are reminded that this world is not our home. There is nothing in this current world that is more important than the heavenly destiny that is ours through Jesus Christ.
On this Ascension Day, we rejoice that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. He has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:2). He prays for us (Heb 7: 24b,25). He shows us that our lives are far more than a rationalistic world comprehends.
We are invited to live each day in response to the Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord. Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.