We all remember Christmas and Easter, but in a few weeks the Church will celebrate a little remembered event--the ascension of Christ. Forty days after the resurrection, Jesus gathered the disciples and commanded them not to leave Jerusalem. He wanted them to wait for what we now know was the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus commissioned his disciples saying, “You shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Then he left. He ascended into heaven and now “sits at the right hand of God.”
As we look around the world that Jesus left behind, we don’t find a pretty picture. Terror, hatred, and greed continue to plague us. Some may wonder, “Why did Jesus leave us behind?” In reality, he didn’t. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ continues to dwell with those who love him. The events of the gospel are not merely memory, but Christ remains as our living Lord. Jesus continues to speak to the Father about us. He is our perpetual high priest still interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 3:1).
As Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples stood staring into the sky. They were so dumb-struck that it took two angels to wake them out of their stupor. We also need to be woken out of our stupor. Christ did not merely leave us behind. He left us with a mission. Christ tells us that we are his witnesses to the world. In a sense, we have been given a time of grace. We have been given an opportunity to help usher others closer to Christ.
Let us celebrate the ascension of Christ and be about God’s mission to the world.
Grace & Peace,