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SCRIPTURE...records the birth, life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. All of the essentials for the redemption of mankind, our salvation, as well as God’s complete fulfillment of his plan for his creation as outlined in Genesis 1. But one part of the story that usually gets less noticed is the ascension of Jesus back to heaven. No less vital than the rest, but it tends to get lost between Jesus’ resurrection and the Spirit’s filling of the saints at Pentecost 50 days later.
Our salvation through the gospel–‘Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead’–allows us to be redeemed and saved from sin’s stronghold. Hallelujah! But unless Jesus ascended back to his Father’s side, you and I would simply be following Jesus around watching him do all his many miracles, helping out here and there. Thus, we would not really be particularly useful for the kingdom. Remember what he said? “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (Jn. 14:12). The ‘he’ is you and me.
For the past twenty plus years, Joanne and I have sat in the balcony during worship at our church. Easter Sunday, as I reflected on Christ’s life, the image of him standing at the very right hand of the Father, ascended and able to view his entire kingdom overtook me.
From where we sit, we can see virtually everyone and everything in the church. The church was packed and the ushers were walking up and down looking for empty seats. I wanted to say to them; “One of you come up here and you can see every empty seat. Then you could easily direct the ushers to seat the people more efficiently.” But I could not communicate with them. O, well!
Where exactly is heaven, the place where Jesus and the Father dwell? Listen to Psalm 8:1. “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens!” The Father has put his Son in complete charge of running his universe. Once Jesus ascended back to the Father, the Holy Spirit was given to Jesus to accomplish the eternal mission of God. Where better place, what better ‘view’ than where he has ascended. He is now our Intercessor and High Priest. He’s praying, interceding and directing!
Jesus said he had to go away. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you” (Jn. 16:7). Now, from his vantage point, high and lifted up, as King and High Priest of all creation, he can see every empty soul and much more. And he has The Communicator, his Spirit, unlike me in the balcony.
God’s plan all along was to use us in this mission. He has made it possible through the gospel, and with the ascension of Jesus. Saved and now sending us! Genesis 1:26a & 28 must be understood in its fullest sense. “Then God said, let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;… then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Do you see this? It is his original plan, interrupted by the Fall, and now restored through the substitutionary death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus to finish the task.

Through us, empowered by the Spirit, under the direction of the Son, to the glory of the Father. All can now be completed because of Christ’s ascension to the right hand of the Father. In and through us!
And you know what we get out of this? Joy, indescribable joy! Hear what the Lord said to his disciples, and now to us. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples…These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn. 15:7,8 & 11).
Jesus’ ascension was the last step in God’s eternal plan for creation. He is Risen, indeed, and He has also ascended! Hallelujah and Amen. O, I’m sorry, there really is one last step. Scripture tells us he is coming back!! Are you ready?
Copyright 2018
Bill C. Dotson
Scriptures taken from the NKJV

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