|ASCENSION OF CHRIST |
The return of the resurrected Christ to live with the Father. The ascension of Christ receives brief mention in the gospels, not appearing in Matthew, appearing only in the long ending of Mark (Mark 16:19) which is not in the Greek manuscripts used by most modern translations; being noted in one verse by Luke (Luke 24:51); and not appearing in John. Acts uses the ascension as its starting point (Acts 1:2-11) and as reason to believe Christ will return (Acts 1:11). Despite its brief mention, the ascension has important theological meaning.
The ascension marks the close of Christ's earthly ministry, the return of the resurrected body to be with the Father (Acts 7:56) where the eternal Word had been prior to His birth (John 1:1;
Revelation 12:5). The ascension gave final confirmation that Jesus was the victorious, eternal Son of God (Hebrews 1:1-13). In the ascension God exalted Christ and made possible His continuing ministry of intercession for believers, allowing Him to prepare an eternal place for His followers (John 14:2). The ascension emphatically placed Christ's last commission to evangelize the world in the minds of the eye-witnesses. With the ascension, Christ prepared the way for the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to come in power for His mission with believers (John 16:5-10) and to give spiritual gifts to His people (Ephesians 4:7-10). The ascended Lord continued to call people to fulfill His mission (Acts 9:1-18;
1 Corinthians 1:17;
2 Corinthians 2:12-14;
2 Timothy 4:17-18). The ascension in its ultimate meaning shows God's unsurpassed power and made plain that Jesus is the supreme Power and Ruler of the universe for all eternity (Ephesians 1:20-23). The ascended Christ gives hope of resurrection and eternal life with Christ to all believers and thus encourages them to live the life to which Christ calls them (Colossians 3:1-4).