What Does “Jesus Ascended” Mean?

Christology is the study of Christ; it is the study of who Jesus is and what He has done. Christology is the study of Jesus’ person, words, and works.

Some of Jesus’ works are very well known and thoroughly studied. His death, His resurrection, and His return are examples of His well known works. However, the ascension of Jesus is often neglected. This is a real shame, because the ascension is essential to everything in the Christian life. Our salvation, identity, assurance, enablement, and future confidence are all dependent on the ascension of Jesus.

What does “Jesus ascended” mean? The word “ascend” is not common. It means “to go up.” Sometimes it is used of physically going up. Think about ascending the staircase. Sometimes it is used figuratively to mean going up in position. In Jesus’ case “ascend” refers to physically going up and going up in honor.

After Jesus died and came back to life, He visibly and publicly returned to heaven in His resurrected body. Jesus’ body that was nailed to the cross was raised from the dead and glorified; in that resurrected body He went back to heaven. This was the first time that He entered heaven as God and man.

In this glorified and resurrected body, Jesus has taken His place of highest honor and authority at the Father’s right hand (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:33-35; Ephesians 1:20-21). So, the Son of God, who came as a man to serve, has been lifted up to the highest place of authority and honor (Ephesians 1:20-23; Philippians 2:5-11).

This is the victory march of the risen Lord Jesus. After His redeeming work was accomplished Jesus returned to heaven in victory and sat down at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12).

Here is a description of Jesus’ ascension from Acts 1:9-11:

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. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 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.”

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