This week we wait for more news. Hopefully good news. Will the Governor release more restrictions? Will Pastor Matt announce when we can gather together again? Will the President announce a vaccine or a cure? As I look at the “Christian Calendar”, there is a date that we so often overlook, yet definitely outplays all other good news. Are you ready to celebrate?
Here it is… (*drum roll please*)… May 21st.
This is the day we commemorate the Ascension of Jesus! Now, before you yawn and move on to you other activities, ponder this with me… We love Christmas, birth of Jesus. Good Friday marks the crucifixion of Jesus, and rightfully commands our attention. Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, no comment even needed. But Ascension Day? Ascension Day is the “Rodney Dangerfield Day” on the calendar – “can’t get no respect.”
Know this – Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection are all a part of a grand scheme that is only ultimately completed when Christ is ascended and exalted. You can read about it in Luke as he closes his gospel (24:50-53) and in Acts (1:9-11). It serves as a launching pad for the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the early church and in the lives of believers. With the Ascension, Jesus returns to his glory and into the presence of his approving Heavenly Father.
Here is what it means for us:
1. Jesus is King!
Christmas – Incarnation; Good Friday – Jesus is Savior; Easter – Jesus is Resurrected Lord; Ascension –Jesus is King of Kings. He is King of this world and head of his church. At this moment he is governing the universe. In the midst of Covid-19 comes the reminder that He is not taken by surprise. He is in control. He can be trusted, no matter the outcome.
And an election is coming up in November. But whomever gets elected our president – Jesus is still, and will always be, our King!
2. Because He went some place (heaven), we have a place to go.
John 14 tells us Jesus goes to prepare a place for us. That where He is, we may be also. In times like this, it is good to have our horizons expanded into eternity.
3. In the meantime we are better off than before.
The absence of Jesus’ physical presence means the availability of His spiritual presence to all who call upon Him. He is literally with us through His Holy Spirit. We do not walk through this crisis alone and unnoticed.
And, He is now at the right hand of the Father, functioning as our mediator between God and us. He is whispering to God on our behalf. Our prayers are not empty, nor do they go unanswered. We can drag ourselves tired, weak and bedraggled to God’s throne and discover that it is a throne of grace.
He doesn’t give us what we deserve, instead He gives us what we don’t deserve – because of His life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
Doesn’t it feel good when you know someone is praying for you? Well, Jesus Christ himself is praying for you!
4. He’s coming back!
In the same way he left, Jesus is coming again. It will be worth it all. That is not something to fear. That is something to look forward to. He will make all things new. And that is good news.
I love that the last thing Jesus spoke to his disciples was a blessing. And they walked away with great joy. Even in the midst of our broken world, may you know His blessing and walk in great joy!
All Hail King Jesus,