Thursday in the Sixth Week of Easter: The Ascension of Our Lord

Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 4:1-32; Psalm 68

He Ascended into Heaven

We don’t hear it preached that often, and we don’t usually talk about it a lot, but the ascension of our Lord into heaven was the next major event after his resurrection – and an important one at that.  It’s squeezed between the day of his resurrection and the day of the coming of the Holy Spirit, that is, between Easter and Pentecost, but it has a meaning and importance of its own, and we need to honor that.

Ascension is observed the fortieth day of Easter, for we are told that he appeared “to them during forty days … speaking about the kingdom of God.”  That time was necessary so that he might confirm the disciples in their faith that he really was indeed risen, so that they would be completely confident when they went out and preached that he really was indeed alive.  He also used those forty days to teach the disciples further concerning the kingdom.

But on that fortieth day, he ascended – went up – into heaven.  He had told the disciples earlier: “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.  But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).  Thus, we learn that one reason why Jesus had to remove himself from the earth was so that the Holy Spirit would come.  Jesus is the one who sends the Spirit, and it is the Spirit’s task to enlighten us as to the mind of Christ (John 16:14).

Another reason for our Lord’s ascension into heaven was so that he could take his seat at the right hand of the Father.  This is his exaltation as the Lord of heaven and earth (Philippians 2:9).  From that place of eminence, he receives our praises and our worship.  But he does not allow himself to receive our praise without doing even more for us – as if he owed us any more of his gracious services.  He chooses further to be our intercessor right at the very side of the Father as our great High Priest, for “he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).  It is a most comforting thought that the one who died for us is the one who prays for us.  And beside our Lord’s intercessions for us in heaven are the Holy Spirit’s intercessions for us on earth (Romans 8:26-27).  Finally, from heaven our Lord heads his Church, who through the Spirit gifts his Church that she might fulfill what is remaining of the ministry.  Thus, we see that even on high, our Lord is anything but idle, but continues his ministry – sending, ruling, interceding – and all for our salvation and His great glory.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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