Coming in April – Lord, Teach Us To Pray, daily reflections on The Lord’s Prayer

Something to Celebrate

Therefore God has also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend…
Philippians 2:9-10a

You will not find a Hallmark card to celebrate this day, or get off from work to observe it, yet it is one of the most important days in the history of heaven and earth. It’s this next Thursday (May 13), Ascension Day. It is the fortieth day after Easter Sunday (Acts 1:3), the day Christians have long celebrated as the day the crucified and resurrected Jesus ascended bodily into heaven. On this day we rejoice that Jesus is exalted to be the universal Lord and supreme ruler over all powers. “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.” (Nicene Creed)

Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of glory demonstrates the truth of Jesus’ words “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). Thus, we joyfully proclaim: “Jesus is Lord!” New Testament scholar N. T. Wright says that Jesus’ ascension “was primarily a change of dimension rather than a change of location. Jesus moves from the present realm of time and space into the transcendent realm, the ‘control room for earth.’”

The New Testament book of Hebrews emphasizes that the rejected, crucified Jesus was raised not to return to earth, but to enter “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf”(Hebrews 9:24). In His incarnation, taking on human flesh, the Son of God united deity to humanity, while in His ascension He united humanity to deity, forever.

We rightly observe Ascension Day not only for what it means for Christ Jesus, but what it means for us. Ascension Day means there sits at the right hand of the Father, a full human like us, “who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrew 4:15). It is a day to pause, reflect, and rejoice because “It is Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who intercedes for us” (Romans 8:34). Christ is there for us!

The apostle Paul explains the weighty implications of Christ’s ascension for today’s church so battered and struggling. Paul sets this forth in his letter to the church at Ephesus: “God raised him from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also the age to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21).

Note, then, what Paul says is God’s gracious purpose in so exalting Christ to the place of all authority and power: “And he has put all things under his feet and made him the head over all things for the church”(Ephesians 1:22). Yes! For the church, for you and me as believers, Christ is ascended! Let us therefore be bold in our prayers and our service. Christ is enthroned at the right hand of the Father, FOR THE CHURCH.

Here is a day to really celebrate, to rejoice, and to worship our King of kings, and Lord of lords!

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all.

A fellow traveler,

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