13th May 2018

What do you think of when you hear that Jesus ascended to Heaven? What images

come to your mind? Some people think that the Ascension is just a fanciful tale of

fantasy and that’s because of the images Ascension conjures in their minds. But

where have those images come from?

if you do a quick Google search for Jesus’ Ascension, you will see hundreds upon

hundreds of arLsts interpretaLons of the event. Invariably they all depict Jesus

floaLng above his disciples. He has been liOed off the ground, he is literally

ascending bodily and all into heaven. There are someLmes clouds and someLmes

angels and trumpets and doves around and about him as he ascends. Are these the

images that influence how you picture the ascension? Perhaps it is these painLngs

and icons that cause many of us to picture the ascension the way we do.

But the Bible accounts do not describe the ascent in that way. The event is reported

the following ways:

The Gospel of Mark says this : A”er the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken

up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Mark 16:19

This is how it is recorded by Luke : When he had led them out to the vicinity of

Bethany, he li”ed up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he

le” them and was taken up into heaven. Luke 24:50-51

There is more detail in Acts : A”er he said this, he was taken up before their very

eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:9

What these accounts tell us is that those who were witness to the ascension, did not

fully understand what occurred, they said that he was taken up and a cloud covered

their view. What their accounts tell us is that the one who came from heaven to live

with us, to care for us, to love us and to die for us has returned to where he was

from. The job of reconciling us to God is complete. It is now up to us to build on

what was done.

But there is more, Jesus promised that his leaving means that the Spirit of God will

come to us, each and every one. Jesus’ Lme on earth was only temporary, but the

coming of the Spirit means that his Spiritual presence is with us forever.

Revd Mark Robinson


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