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The Ascension of Christ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ir. David Kurniadi   
Wednesday, 16 May 2018 15:26

The ascension proves the deity of Jesus that He came and originated from heaven (John 3:13; 6:38) and returned to heaven (Marks 16:19). He didn’t go to heaven through natural death like all humans, but He was ascended to heaven alive (Luke 24:51).


“And when He had said this, even as they were looking at Him, He was caught up, and a cloud received and carried Him away out of their sight” (Acts 1:9; Amplified Bible).


Indeed Jesus was once died on the cross, but after His death three days later Jesus rose again. And He showed Himself alive by appearing to His disciples continuously for forty days (Acts 1:3).


“To them also He showed Himself alive after His suffering in the garden and on the cross by a series of many convincing demonstrations (unquestionable evidences and infallible proofs), appearing to them during forty days and talking to them about the things of the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3; Amplified Bible).


He showed Himself alive and was present in the midst of His disciples, showing His hand and His feet with marks of the nails. He talked to them and taught them; even He ate with them (Luke 24:40). He showed Himself not only to some people but also to many people. Even five hundred people at the same time witnessed His ascension to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:6). So the ascension of the Lord was not happened secretly in the dark without any witness, but openly in the daylight in front of many witnesses.


“And He said to them, “Why are you disturbed and troubled, and why do such doubts and questionings arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Feel and handle Me and see, for the spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they still could not believe it for sheer joy and marveled, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish. And He took it and ate it before them” (Luke 24:38-43; Amplified Bible).


Jesus deliberately gathered many people in the Mount Olivet to witness His ascension to heaven (Luke 24:50). Those witnesses had seen it with their naked eyes so that they dare to testify even if they had to suffer persecution for their testimony. Should the ascension of Christ was only a myth or fiction, then how could they willing to endure suffering and persecution for the things that never happened? (1 Corinthians 15:30).


“Why do I live dangerously as I do, running such risks that I am in peril every hour (for the testimony of His death, resurrection and ascension, if it is not true and just a fantasy)?” (1 Corinthians 15:30).


The ascension of Christ had really affirmed the faith of the witnesses that Jesus was not mere human being or just a prophet, but the Son of God, who has died, rose and ascended to heaven. And this has become the foundation of the Christian’s faith and the center of the Gospel.


There was one very important thing that Jesus gave before His ascension to heaven that was the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). Jesus commanded that His disciples would tell the world what they had seen, heard and witnessed about Him (Acts 1:8) and to spread the good news about the forgiveness and salvation: forgiveness of sin and salvation from eternal condemnation that people can receive through faith in Him (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8); the good news that God’s grace and mercy have come, Heaven has opened its gate wide so that people can receive eternal life just by repentance and receiving Christ as Lord and Savior.


“And there is no salvation in and through some one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved (except in the name of Jesus)” (Acts 4:12).


The Lord sustains His Great Commission with His power and authority both in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). It means that the command is come from a very powerful Man on earth and in heaven. It also means that if we carry out the command the great power and authority of Jesus will be with us and give the strong and reliable support. The Lord is also able to impart His power unto us (Luke 9:1; 10:19; Acts 1:8) that we might have courage, ability and fruitfulness.  


“But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).


The Lord’s power will also protect and defend the witnesses because Jesus knows that when we become His witness we will face difficulties and even persecutions. But He assures us that He has overcome and conquered all those things beforehand for us (John 16:33) so that nothing can touch us without His permission (Luke 10:19; Mark 16:18).


“Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and physical and mental strength and ability over all the power that the enemy possesses; and nothing shall in anyway harm you” (Luke 10:19; Amplified Bible)


“In the world you have tribulations and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted)! For I have overcome the world (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you)” (John 16:33).


The power that Jesus gives will make His witnesses able to do great and mighty works and also miracles and wonders to confirm their testimony (Mark 16:17,20). And Christ has promised to accompany us till the end of time (Matthew 28:20). So His promise is still effective to this day.


“Behold, I am with you all the days (on every occasion), to the very end (close and consummation) of the age” (Matthew 28:20).


The ascension of the Lord to heaven was happened with a purpose that the Holy Spirit can come and dwell within the believers (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit will continue the works of the Lord Jesus on earth and bring it into completion. The Father sent the Holy Spirit because of Jesus’ prayer (John 14:16).


“It is profitable (advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (the Holy Spirit: the Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you: but if I go away, I will send Him to you (to be in close fellowship with you)” (John 16:7).


“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter that He may remain with you forever” (John 14:16).


The Holy Spirit is the One who carries out the Lord’s promise that says: “Behold, I am with you always unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).


God the Father promised to the Son (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5) that He would give the Holy Spirit whom He asked (John 14:16) so the Son would pour out the Holy Spirit upon all men (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:33). And this was happened when Jesus had finished His work of salvation on earth through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead (John 7:39), and then returned to heaven. God the Father glorified Him and made Him both as Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) and gave Him the promised Holy Spirit. And it was happened during the Pentecost festival.


“And behold, I will send forth upon you what My Father has promised” (Luke 24:49).


“Being therefore lifted high by and to the right hand of God (Acts 2:36), and having received from the Father the promised blessing which is the Holy Spirit, He has made this outpouring which yourselves both see and hear (Acts 2:1-4)” (Acts 2:33).


That was why the outpouring of the Holy Spirit happened after the Lord ascended to heaven and then the Lord baptized the believers with the Holy Spirit (John 7:39). The Lord Jesus is indeed the Baptizer with the Spirit (John 1:33).


This outpouring of the Holy Spirit is what the Father had promised (Acts 1:4-5). The outpouring will empower the believers to become the authorized and effective witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8), to preach the Gospel unto all nations in the world (Marks 16:15; Matthew 28:19).


“But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were afterward to receive. For the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised and honor)” (John 7:39).


The Father’s promise, that is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, had convinced Jesus that His work on earth would be continued until its completion. It was also convinced Jesus that though His disciples were not perfect and had many weaknesses but they would do the works that He did and even the greater work (John 14:12), because it was the Holy Spirit that would work it out through them (Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29)


“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father (to send the Holy Spirit: John 14:16)” (John 14:12).


That was why Jesus still giving the order to preach the Gospel to His disciples though in the beginning they didn’t believe on His resurrection (Mark 16:11,13,14) and were full of fear (John 20:19), because Jesus relied on the power of the Holy Spirit that will come upon them.


In the same way, Jesus also believes that we will be able to continue the works that had been done by the apostles and the early Christians, though we have many weaknesses and infirmities, because the same power of Holy Spirit will do the work powerfully in us and through us.


Why Jesus must return to heaven? Because, Jesus knew that even though He is the Almighty Son of God but when He was on earth in human form He was limited by time and space; He cannot be in different places at the same time. And this will inhibit His work in establishing the Kingdom of God in the world.


Therefore, His departure to heaven was in order that His work on earth might be continued and perfected by the Holy Spirit, who is not only omnipotent but also omnipresent. He can do the works in different places simultaneously at the same time.


The Omnipresence of the Holy Spirit enables Him to dwell and inhabit the bodies of every believer (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) and does His work through the believers who live in different places all over the world simultaneously. Wow! Amazing!


The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit who once empowered the Son of God when He ministered on earth (Acts 10:38). Even He raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right side of the Father in heaven (Ephesians 2:19-20). And the exactly same Spirit now dwells within the body of the believers and makes it His sanctuary (1 Corinthians 6:19). This is in order to enable the believers to do the great works that Jesus once did, even the greater works (John 14:12).


“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, whom you have received as gift from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).


“And (so that you can know and understand) what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:19-20).


This power of the Holy Spirit will overcome the human weaknesses of the believers (2 Corinthians 12:10) so they can do the Great Commission without obstacles from themselves. God no longer questioning the believer’s weaknesses since the perfect power of Holy Spirit overcome them. And this ensures the successful and fruitful works of God in the world.


The only obstacle is when the believers – though they are inhabited by the Holy Spirit – slothful and not willing to cooperate with the Spirit, or they don’t want to be lead by the Spirit: they just want to be lead by their own will. And the Holy Spirit, though He is almighty He never forces the believer and imposes His will. He respects human’s free will that God granted. He will never violates their right.


It doesn’t mean that the Lord retired from His work after His ascension. He is not sitting comfort in heaven. He is still actively working till this very moment as our Intercessor (Romans 8:33-34). In His intercession He defends the believers who are still living in the world. And the Father accepts His prayers because He has died for them.


“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect (when it is) God Who justifies (that is Who puts us in right relationship to Himself)? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us? Who is there to condemn us? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?” (Romans 8:33-34).


The Lord Jesus defends the believers who are still living in the world against the accusations of the Devil who accuses them day and night (Revelations 12:11-12). And the Lord Jesus will keep doing His intercession until the last believer has entered into the Kingdom of Heaven.


The Lord Jesus ascended to heaven also to prepare the mansions for the believers in His Father’s house. And after the places are prepared He will come again to take the believers to heaven to be with Him; that where He is, there we may be also (John 14:1-3).


One day He will come again (Acts 1:11). He will come again in two occasions. The first is in Rapture, when the believers will meet Him in the sky and He will take them with Him to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) to save them from the great Tribulation which shall come upon all the world (Revelations 3:10); and secondly when He will come again with His saints to reign for a thousand years on earth (Revelations 20:1-6).


The Lord Jesus will come again in the same way as when He was ascending to heaven; and this will happen very soon. We just don’t know exactly the day and the hour. Therefore we must always watch and be prepared (Matthew 25:36,44).


“This same Jesus, Who was caught away and lifted up from among you into heaven, will return in just the same way in which you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).


The ascension of Jesus Christ proved that He was truly came and originated from above and belong to heaven, not of this world (John 8:23). All the prophets and religions leaders in the world were originated from this world and they had died a human death, buried and their graves and bodies still exist. But Jesus came from heaven and returned to heaven. His grave is empty and His body cannot be found (Luke 24:3,5,6). 


Since He comes from above and not of earth, He is above all: above all the prophets and religions leaders (John 3:31). He has all the power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He has a name above all names (Philippians 2:9) and He is the King of kings (Revelations 17:14).


“He Who comes from above (heaven) is far above all others; he who comes from the earth, belongs to the earth, and talks the language of earth (his words are from earthly standpoint). He Who comes from heaven is far above all others (far superior to all others in prominence and excellence)” (John 3:31)


The Lord Jesus is the living God. He is not an ordinary prophet. He is the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-16). He is Lord and Savior. And one day, at the end of time, He will not stand as the Savior anymore, but as a Judge (John 5:22,27), who will judge and condemn those who do not believe in Him. But now He still opens His hands wide to forgive the sinners and gives them salvation from eternal condemnation in hell.


“He who believes in Him is not judged (he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection nor condemnation); but he who does not believe is judged already (he has already been convicted and has already received sentence) because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).


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