Christians are taught a great variety of subject matter in sermons and bible study, the Ascension of Jesus, being just one.
The English word ASCENTION (a-sen´shun) comes from the Latin “ascensio.” It means the act of ascending; a rising. It is frequently applied to the visible and public elevation of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, to Heaven.
As the ISBE says of the ascension:
“Most modern Lives of Christ commence at Bethlehem and end with the Ascension, but Christ’s life began earlier and continued later. The Ascension is not only a great fact of the New Testament, but a great factor in the life of Christ and Christians, and no complete view of Jesus Christ is possible unless the Ascension its consequences are included. It is the consummation of His redemptive work. The Christ of the Gospels is the Christ of history, the Christ of the past, but the full New Testament picture of Christ is that of a living Christ, the Christ of heaven, the Christ of experience, the Christ of the present and the future. The New Testament passages referring to the Ascension need close study and their teaching careful observation.”
We now live in the times of the Ascension of Jesus, for He has risen from the earth and is now seated on a heavenly throne at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus sits on the throne of Heaven not only as our God, but as our King and “a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6).
The question for us now is where we are living…..
In the Gospels, the emphasis is on the death of Christ.
In the Epistles, the emphasis moves on to the resurrection of Christ.
In the Book of Revelation, the emphasis is clearly on the Ascension of Christ.
Again, the question for us, is where are we? Are we, in these end times, concentrating on the Ascension of Christ and all that that entails, or are we stuck in the past?
If we are stuck in the past, we cannot be listening or attuned to the rhema, to the current spoken Word of God and upon the current ministry of Christ.
Resting on the fact of the Ascension of Christ, the Book of Revelation unveils the ascendant and glorified Christ who will soon be returning in all His glory. This should be a joy to us, as it was for Him!
Read what Hebrews 12:2 has to say about it:
“… Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.”
Jesus was able to look at the cross, with all its pain and shame and see the joy in what was beyond it – His ascension. We need to do so as well.
Jesus is not just sitting on the throne of God idling His time away – He is not sitting there playing video games! Jesus is busy preparing His Church and through it, all the peoples of the earth, for His imminent return.
Let me share one little fact about the Church of Christ which we need to appreciate in this context. In the year 1900, the ratio of Christian in the world population was 1:28, but 100 years later, by 2000, it was 1:4. That is an astonishing increase by any standard of measurement, yet it was achieved during the same century in which more men, women and children died as a result of wars, than in all in other wars in human history combined!
No, Jesus has not been sitting idly by, but has been growing His Church. He has been preparing for His return.
In Matthew 25:1-12 Jesus tells the story of the 10 virgins “who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom…. the foolish ones took their lamps, but took no oil with them…. [but] as the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.” The result was that 5 of the virgins were locked out; being late and unprepared the bridegroom said to them “Truly I say to you, I do not know you!” (Matthew 25:12).
The final word from Jesus in this story is also a word for us: “Therefore watch, for you do not know either the day or the hour in which the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 25:13). These are our times to which Jesus is referring.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should listen to the words of Matthew 25:1-12 for that Bridegroom is the Lord Jesus Christ and these virgins are us, His Bride, His Church.
Let us not be caught without oil (the Holy Spirit), nor let us not be caught asleep, for we are warned of the consequences: Jesus will say, “I do not know you!”