We are privileged to be one of a few countries that have ascension day as a public holiday. Having the day off should make us ponder on what it is all about. In this article we will look at three implications of the ascension of Jesus. The ascension happened 40 days after the resurrection. Luke in the book of Acts gives us clear account. “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11
Jesus is exalted
The Lord Jesus Christ as he was praying the high priestly prayer in John 17, gave us an insight of how things are going to be when he is ascended. Notice in verse 5…when he ascends he will be glorified by the father with the glory that he had before he came to earth. God the father exalted, glorified the Lord Jesus with the most awesome glory imaginable “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2:9).
How did this exaltation happen? “God seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places far above every rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.” (Ephesians 1:20b-21).
The Lord Jesus Christ is exalted to right hand of God, the most unique, the most glorious and privileged position in God’s kingdom. This is what what Psalm 110 teaches us about the messiah and Jesus fulfills it. We see that Jesus exalted above everyone and anything else in the Universe.
Jesus’ work on the cross is done
The second thing is that as the posture that Jesus is in at the right hand of God shows us, his sacrificial work on the Cross has been accomplished (Hebrews 10:11-14). Notice the posture of the Old Testament priest, they “Stand” daily in the temple because their work is not complete. They continued daily to stand. But Jesus offered his sacrifice once and for all and is now “Seated” at the right hand of God to show that his work is accomplished. Jesus as he ascended to heaven and is seated at the hand of God the father, shows us that his work on the Cross has been completed, the work on the Cross is done! Hebrews 1:3b “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of majesty on high.”
Brothers and sisters this should be an encouragement to us, that because of the finished work of Jesus on the Cross, our sins have been dealt with. We now have forgiveness of sins, we now have purification of sins. Have you sinned? Maybe you are down casted this morning because of the weight of your sin. Well run to Jesus, he has dealt with your sins and you will be forgiven. Christian, non-christian go to him who has finished his work on the Cross.
Jesus is intercending for us
“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34
Jesus is not just seated at God’s right for the sake of it, Jesus is busy interceding on behalf of Believers before God. But what does it mean to intercede?
This is what Louis Berkhof says “He is ever making intercession for those that are his, pleading for their acceptance on the basis of his completed sacrifice and for their safe-keeping in the world, and making their prayers and services acceptable before God.”
That is what the Lord Jesus does for us before God. He is our great high priest he ever lives and pleads on our behalf. He is constantly reminding God of who we are because of his finished work on the Cross.
There is a hymn that well describes his interceding work:
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea;
A great high priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
When Satan reminds you of your guilt because you have sinned, know that Jesus interceding for you. When you feel worthless and that your service to God is inadequate, know that Jesus is presenting it before God. Whenever you feel weak to pray know, that Jesus is presenting your prayers before God. This truth should comfort us and make us appreciate the ascension of Jesus. For you who is a non-Christian, there is no one interceding for you, there is no finished work to represent you before God. I urge you turn to Christ today, repent and believe in him. Make him your great high priest today.
All of this is because of the Ascension of Jesus and that’s why we should remember this day. That Jesus is exalted, that he is seated at the right of God because his work on the Cross is done and that he is interceding on behalf of God’s people. Thats what the Ascension day means, those are the implications of Ascension day. We should never take celebrating the Ascension of Jesus for granted.