Dear Watermark Family,
Last week, we gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope we now have through His death, burial, and resurrection. Because He lives, Paul boldly proclaimed, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). What an amazing promise!
Without question, the resurrection forms the bedrock of our faith. If the resurrection is not true, then our faith is in vain and we of all people are most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). Christians throughout the ages have rightly celebrated Jesus’ resurrection!
Yet, in our celebration, perhaps we have missed another essential truth: He ascended into heaven!
We learn of Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:9-11:
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away.
This truth has been affirmed and repeated in the Apostles’ Creed throughout the generations:
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
Sadly, many Christians fail to understand the significance of this truth.
Why is the ascension important?
The Heidelberg Confession asks and answers this question for us.
Question 49: How does Christ’s ascension into heaven benefit us?
First, he is our Advocate in heaven
before his Father.
Second, we have our flesh in heaven
as a sure pledge that he, our Head,
will also take us, his members,
up to himself.
Third, he sends us his Spirit as a counter-pledge,
by whose power we seek
the things that are above,
where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God,
and not the things that are on earth.
Author and pastor Kevin DeYoung further expounds on this amazing reality: “The God who, in the fullness of time, became man, will never, for all time, cease to be a man. The ascended Christ shows us what Adam was supposed to be and what we will one day become—not the natural Son of the Father, but kingly and priestly sons of our Father given to rule on the earth.”
In short, Jesus’ ascension shows us that Christ triumphed over His enemies and reigns supreme! Seated at the right hand of the Father, He advocates on our behalf (1 John 2:1) and clothes us in His robes of righteousness (Zechariah 3:4; Revelation 19:8).
These truths have enormous implications for anyone imprisoned by the voice of shame that falsely whispers:
“I don’t belong.”
“I don’t matter.”
“I don’t have what it takes.”
Against these lies speaks our risen Savior who not only rose from the dead but ascended into heaven!
As believers, may we not miss the significance of His ascension but boldly proclaim:
“He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”
See you on Sunday,