Three Reasons Why Christ’s Ascension Matters to You by Brian Hedges for Servants of Grace
The ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven is one of the most important events recorded in the New Testament. But though it occupies an important place in Scripture, it doesn’t get a lot of attention today, even among Christians. My guess is that you probably haven’t read any books about it or heard many sermons on it. Usually, we focus on the crucifixion and the resurrection. But the ascension is pivotal, especially in the writings of Luke.
Luke wrote a two-part history of the origins of Christianity. Volume one is the Gospel that bears his name. Volume two is the book of Acts. And the ascension was so important for Luke, that he ended volume one with it (Luke 24:50-51), begins volume two by reporting it again (Acts 1:9-11), and then refers back to it several times in the book of Acts.
As Joel Green, a New Testament scholar who specializes in Luke’s writings, comments, “Luke presents the exaltation (i.e., resurrection & ascension) as the salvific event.”[i]
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Why is that?
For one thing, the ascension accounts for why the appearances of Jesus during the forty days following his resurrection ceased. The ascension also foreshadowed the final event in salvation history: Jesus’ personal, physical, glorious return.
“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” (Acts 1:11).
But there’s more to it than that. For the ascension of Jesus was also the climatic, crowning event of his exaltation and the necessary precursor to his continuing work through the Spirit and the church.