God the Father raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Eph 1:20-21)
We Need Help from God
As of 2015, there were roughly 76,000 elevator devices in New York City (“NYC”), including about 1,570 miles of elevator shafts. In 2016, after five deaths and fifty-one injuries in elevator accidents, NYC launch1ed an ad campaign to educate people on how to stay calm and be safe when things go wrong on elevators. Many people tried to save themselves when the equipment malfunctioned, but they often made the problem worse. NYC authorities said that the best plan of action is simply, “Ring, relax, and wait.” Building authorities made a commitment to respond promptly to protect people from injury and extract them from their predicaments.1
Scripture says that human beings are born and bred for trouble, as certainly as sparks fly upward.2 The world is fallen because of moral evil. People hurt themselves, each other, and the world we live in. Pain and suffering also come from “natural” disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, severe storms, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and droughts. But our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.3 God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is on the side of Christ’s followers, so we seek His assistance.
Jesus’ Ascension Confirms That He Is Lord and King
Christ told His disciples: You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.4
After Jesus’ baptism, He announced: The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!5 Christ is the King of the kingdom who brings us under His power, rules and defends us, and restrains and conquers all His and all our enemies. Then in His ascension, Jesus is crowned with all authority in heaven and earth. And that works to our advantage!
Pastor Richard Sibbes (1577–1635) asks, “What greater encouragement can we have to fight against our enemies (the world, the flesh, and the devil) than when we are sure of final victory before we fight? Likewise a praise song reminds us:
I’m fighting a battle You’ve already won.
No matter what comes my way I will overcome.
Don’t know what You’re doing But I know what You’ve done.
And I’m fighting a battle You’ve already won.6
Our world seems chaotic; war, violence, and evil are increasing; and Jesus’ Church is struggling. It looks like Satan is winning. But Christ is alive and ascended and Scripture says: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”7 So let’s be encouraged!
Jesus’ Ascension Vindicates His Cross Work
The Son of God was humiliated by being born as a human being, born into a poor family, suffering the miseries of this life, and the curse of death on the cross. But in Christ’s ascension, He is exalted to the highest place. After Jesus had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.8 And the heavenly beings sing:
You are worthy to take the scroll (of God’s plans) and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.9
Christ’s crucifixion seemed a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But Jesus’ resurrection and ascension shows the payoff of His humiliation. Christ had to suffer these things and then return to the glory that He had before His incarnation.10 Now Christians are God’s adopted children, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. And as we share in Jesus’ sufferings we will also share in His glory and join Him around the throne!11 So let’s be encouraged!
Jesus’ Ascension Enables Him to Send the Holy Spirit to Us
At first glance, Christ’s ascension seems to make Him absent from us. He is in heaven and we are on earth. We cannot see, hear, talk to, or touch Him in His physical presence. But remember what the Lord said:
If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.12
Jesus said it was better for us if He went back to heaven rather than stay here. Christ is the first advocate (Greek parakletos, transliterated as paraclete). The ascended Christ promises to send the Holy Spirit as another advocate who will always stand by Jesus’ people and live in us. Advocate also means comforter, counselor, teacher, and helper. In the first century Roman Empire, a paraclete was a family attorney who came alongside people and defended and protected them in troubling times. He came alongside the weak to give them strength and courage, especially when being persecuted.
Among other blessings, God the Holy Spirit
- Teaches and reminds us13
- Convicts the world of sin14
- Guides us into all truth15
- Empowers us to be His witnesses16
- Gives us New Life17
- Helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us18
- Gives us Spiritual Gifts19
- Gives us righteousness, peace, and joy20
- Helps us know God better21
- Dwells in believers and fills us22
- Sanctifies and produces Good Fruit in our lives23
- Seals us and guarantees our inheritance24
- Gives us wisdom, revelation, enlightenment, and hope25
- Takes away fear and gives us power, love, and self-discipline.26
So let’s be encouraged, Christian brothers and sisters!
Christ is Victorious
After Jesus’ ascension, Scripture says: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever. Now we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”27
To be continued
Notes: 1 Marvin Williams. 2 Job 5:7. 3 Psalm 124:8. 4 Luke 22:28-30. 5 Mark 1:15. 6 Shane & Shane. 7 Rom 16:20. 8 Heb 1:3. 9 Rev 5:9-10. 10 Luke 24:26,46. 11 Rom 8:17. 12 John 14:15-17. 13 John 14:26. 14 John 16:7-8. 15 John 16:13-15. 16 Acts 1:8. 17 Rom 8:10-11. 18 Rom 8:26-27. 19 Rom 12:3-8. 20 Rom 14:17. 21 1 Cor 2:10-11. 22 1 Cor 3:16. 23 Gal 5:16-25. 24 Eph 1:13. 25 Eph 1:17-20. 26 2 Tim 1:7. 27 Rev 11:15; Heb 13:6.