The ascension of Jesus describes Christ’s transition from earth to heaven after his life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The Bible refers to the ascension as a passive action—Jesus was "taken up" into heaven.
Through the ascension of Jesus, God the Father exalted the Lord to his right hand in heaven. Even more important, at his ascension, Jesus promised his followers that he would soon pour out the Holy Spirit on them and in them.
What is the Ascension of Jesus?
Ascension of Jesus wood carving cross gift--Entire wood hand-carved
In God's plan of salvation, Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of mankind, died, and rose from the dead. Following his resurrection, he appeared many times to his disciples.
Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus called his 11 apostles together on the Mount of Olives, outside Jerusalem. Still not completely understanding that Christ's messianic mission had been spiritual and not political, the disciples asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. They were frustrated with Roman oppression and may have envisioned an overthrow of Rome. Jesus answered them:
- It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:7-8, NIV)
Then Jesus was taken up, and a cloud hid him from their sight. As the disciples were watching him ascend, two angels dressed in white robes stood beside them and asked why they were looking into the sky. The angels said:
- This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11, NIV)
At that, the disciples walked back to Jerusalem to the upstairs room where they had been staying and held a prayer meeting.
Finding Hope in the Ascension
Jesus gave His life for us. He lived on Earth among us, knows us, loves us. What a comfort and abundance of hope that offers us! He sits at the right hand of the Lord as a symbol of God’s love for us.
As John 14:6 tells us, “Jesus is the way.” Since Jesus is the way, his life is an example for our own. The Ascension is another example. Jesus shows us through His Ascension that we may hope to also join the Father in Heaven.
It is because of the Ascension of Jesus that we find hope in the Lord and can live a joyful life.
Christ’s ascension into Heaven marked the crowning event of His exaltation, and served as a necessary precursor to His continuing work through the Spirit and the church.
Having paid the ultimate price for the sin of humanity—death on the cross—Jesus Christ is now risen and exalted, and applies the salvation He has won by granting the gifts of repentance and forgiveness of sins. Thus, Ascension Day is significant because it provides believers with the hope of Christ’s return and proclaims the hope and glory held out to all who are in Christ.