This Sunday is Ascension Sunday. The ascension of Jesus is largely neglected in the modern church of Jesus Christ. This is a tragedy! A true understanding of this doctrine really changes everything.
God Has Highly Exalted Him – Ascension Truths
Acts 1:6-11; Ephesians 1:20-21; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:3b
Preached at Pioneer Bible Church on May 29, 2022.
What Is the ASCENSION of Jesus?
- After Jesus died and came back to life, He visibly and publicly returned to heaven in His resurrected body.
- His body that was nailed to the cross was raised from the dead and glorified, and in that resurrected body Jesus went back to heaven.
- He has entered His current ministry as Ruler, High Priest, Intercessor, and Advocate.
- The ascension is the victory march of the risen Lord Jesus. After His redeeming work was accomplished, He returned to heaven in victory, and by the Father’s invitation He sat down at the Father’s right hand in the place of highest honor and authority (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12)
Records of the Ascension
Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11
1. Jesus’ ascension was prophesied ahead of time
A. By God through David –
- Psalm 68:18 – quoted in Ephesians 4:8
- Psalm 110:1 – quoted in Acts 2:33-34
B. By Jesus –
- To the Jews and religious leaders – John 7:33-34 – Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.”
NOTICE THE CONTRAST BETWEEN JOHN 7:33-34 and JOHN 14:1-6
- To His followers – John 14:1-6 – I am going to prepare a place for you; I will come again; I will take you to be with me; you know the way to where I am going – I AM the Way
- John 16:4-11 – It is to your advantage that I go, because I will send the Helper (Holy Spirit)
- John 16:28 – “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
2. Jesus’ ascension was literal and physical.
- Jesus’ resurrected, glorified body was literally taken up into heaven
- Luke 24:50-53 – He was lifting His hands – which they had touched (Luke 24:38-43)- to bless them, and He was carried away.
3. Jesus’ ascension was to a literal place.
- Jesus literally went up to heaven
- He literally sat down at the Father’s right hand, in the place of highest honor
- Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:33; Acts 7:55-56; Ephesians 1:20-21; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12
4. Jesus’ ascension was public, and it is verifiable, historical fact.
- Jesus did not just vanish from them never to be seen again
- Jesus’ victory march was not a secret event but a literal, visible, public event.
- He visibly and publicly went up into the clouds in the presence of eyewitnesses (Acts 1:9 – “as they were looking on;” 1:10 “as they were gazing;” Acts 1:11 “as you saw Him go up”
- The crucifixion was public, the resurrection was public, the ascension was public, and the second coming will be public.
5. Jesus’ ascension was to an exalted position of authority and honor.
- This was not Jesus taking up deity – HE NEVER STOPPED BEING GOD
- This was Jesus’ reentrance into heaven, but it was the first time He sat down at the Father’s right hand as God AND Man.
- He came as the servant of all, to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:6-8).
- The Savior who humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death on the cross, has now been lifted up to the highest place of honor and authority (Philippians 2:9; Matthew 28:18)
- He is the ruler over all other rulers; He is Head of His Church (Ephesians 1:20-23)
- He is exalted as the Judge of this universe (Acts 17:30-31)
6. Jesus’ ascension is essential to Christianity.
The ascension of Jesus is not a secondary issue. It is not one of those areas that can be taken or left behind. The ascension is essential for Biblical Christianity.
A. Jesus’ ascension is necessary for our salvation.
- The apostle’s identify the ascension as part of the Gospel (Acts 2:33-34; Acts 3:19-21; Acts 5:30-32; Acts 7:56)
- The resurrection and ascension are the public testimony that Jesus’ redeeming work has been accepted by God the Father – Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:11-14
- The ascension is God’s testimony that Jesus’ saving work is complete
- If Christ had not completed the work He had been sent to do, then He would not be welcomed to sit in the place of honor and authority – THE WORK IS COMPLETE!
- Jesus said at the cross, “It is finished!”
- The resurrection and ascension are the Father’s “Amen! And AMEN!” to that statement.
- Jesus’ ascension was not only public from earth’s vantage point, but it was public in heaven as well.
- The saints of all the ages watched as He returned to heaven as the Victor.
- The angels were witness to His return to heaven.
- The Father said to the Son, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for Your feet!”
- What the Father said was, Take a seat here, Son! The work of redemption is complete! Well done!
B. Jesus’ ascension is necessary for our eternal security.
- “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25; compare to Luke 22:31-32).
- Have you come near to God through Jesus? Jesus is the only Way to come to the Father, because He died for your sins, came back to life again, is at the Father’s right hand, and forever lives to completely save all who come to the Father through Him. Have you trusted in Him?
- If so, you can rest assured that you are secure in Him, because He always lives to make intercession for you.
- If not, you can rest assured that without Him you will never stand up to God’s judgement, but through trusting in Jesus you can come to God, have your sins forgiven, and begin a new life in Him.
C. Jesus’ ascension is necessary for our identity and assurance (of eternal security).
- Just as Jesus has been lifted up to the Father’s right hand, we have also been lifted up with Him in our union to Him by faith (Ephesians 2:4-8; Colossians 3:1-4)
- By faith through the Scriptures, we may look at Jesus seated at God’s right hand, and we may know that our salvation is complete and accomplished (Hebrews 10:11-14)
- By faith, we can look at the Scriptures and know that our identity and position is united to Jesus. We are as secure as God’s children as Jesus is in His position because we are united to Him in His death, resurrection, and ascension (Ephesians 2:4-8; Colossians 3:1-4).
- By faith, looking at the Scriptures, we can see that there is Someone in heaven who can sympathize with all our weaknesses. There is Someone who is one of us, and He is also God. There is someone who has faced temptation to sin and has conquered every time, remaining perfectly sinless. He is our compassionate and faithful high priest who is eager to show mercy, provide help in time of need, so we may come to him with confidence to ask for such help and know we will receive it! His name is Jesus.
- And, because of Him, we can be assured that we are saved.
D. Jesus’ ascension is necessary for our service.
- Jesus has sent the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39) and the gift of spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:7-16). He intercedes on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25). He is serving as our Advocate (1 John 2:1-2). He is our Head (leader and life-source) (Ephesians 1:20-21).
- We are alive in Him, given access to the Father because of Him, enabled by Him, and able to pray because of Him (Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 4:14-16)
- When Jesus went on His victory march to heaven, He shared the spoils of His conquest with us.
E. Jesus’ ascension is necessary for our future confidence.
- Acts 1:9-11: The angels make clear that the ascension is related to Jesus’ second coming – He will come again, just as you saw Him leave
- John 14:1-6: He has gone to prepare a place for us. Since He has gone to prepare a place for us, He will come again and receive us to Himself, so we can be with Him
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – We will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. We will always be with the Lord.
- We may look to the Scriptures and say with confidence, “He is there! He said if He went there, He would come again and receive us to Himself. He is there, so He is coming as He said! And He is coming for me!”
How will I respond to the Ascension of Jesus?
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.