What the ascension means

“What’s happening?”
“What’s going on?”
“What are Jesus’ feet doing floating above us?”
“Dad, why are you looking up to the sky?”

Acts 1: 1-11

If you were a child watching with your Dad, (one of the disciples) as Jesus ascended into heaven – what questions would we be asking? – And if we were the disciple, the Dad, what answers would we be giving?

When Jesus left his followers for the last time on earth, there were no hurried goodbyes and wave of the hand. There was a cloud – the Old Testament description of the presence of God – an ascension, a ‘going up’ to signify a new status. There were witnesses who described this awesome event in picture language. What those first disciples wanted to tell those who came after, was that Jesus now had a new role. He had been enthroned as king.

In the story of the Ascension, the early church proclaimed their faith that this man, Jesus with whom they had lived, is sovereign, not just of the church, but of the world. The faith that Christ is King, head of a new humanity, sustained the early Christians in all their difficulties, beatings, persecutions and death. All authority is now in both heaven and earth. And those who accept his kingship, people like you and me, are to make the values of God’s Kingdom lifestyle effective where we live now.

It’s easy sometimes for us (reading the Bible), to picture the scenes; to admire the poetry and language, and think, “Well, that was nice for them” – and feel disconnected from it.

The ascension gave those early followers of Jesus hope. They waited as they were told –and they prayed: Jesus had instructed them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the gift his Father had promised.

When I was confirmed (way back in 1959!) the Bishop recited Acts 1:8 for us to remember:

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses.

I believe we need to try and remember that we are also Jesus’ disciples; His followers. The Heavenly Father loves us as much as He loved the early disciples!. The power that He promised them (as the Holy Spirit was poured out changing them from frightened timid beings into those who fearlessly proclaimed and lived out their faith) is the same power that He promises (and makes available) for us.

Jesus’ ascension is, I believe, also the promise that we (His followers) will go where He has gone before us.
In the meantime we are to make effective Jesus’ kingdom rule in the places where we are now.

So let’s not lose patience or give up. Let’s know afresh today the great love the ascended Christ has for each of us and patiently pray while we wait to see what He has in store for us here in the future!


Robin WilliamsonPosted on Monday May 14th, 2018 by Robin Williamson (based on his sermon in church at the 6:30pm service on Sunday 13th May).

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