Today marks the 50th day after Easter. It is the Ascension of Lord. Many of you will spend time today going to services or meeting in prayer groups. The Ascension demands that we approach life in a resurrected way. Jesus’s last words were instructions that ‘the gates are open and go forth and teach the nations.’
Christ’s bodily Ascension foreshadows our own entrance into Heaven not simply as souls, after our death, but as glorified bodies, after the resurrection of the dead at the Final Judgment.
“So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys. But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.
Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand. Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.
In redeeming mankind, Christ not only offered salvation to our souls but began the restoration of the material world itself to the glory that God intended before Adam’s fall.