I have a note in my diary for Thursday 5th May 2016 indicating that is Ascension Day.
This day easily goes without noticing, in fact many diaries don’t even recall it. It’s not one of those major events in the Christian calendar like Christmas or Easter, however it is worth just considering what this day signifies.
Let’s just go back a couple of thousand years.
In Israel there are a number of prophets including Isaiah, Jeremiah Micah et cetera. Many of these guys prophesied that one-day God would send someone to rescue and deal honestly with our world. In some writings he is described as the Shepherd, some as God’s servant, some as a king who will bring a new kingdom into this world, others as someone who would suffer. All of these prophecies were referring in some way to God’s son Jesus Christ.
God, way back then had a plan. Paul writing to the Galatians (Gal 4:4) tells us that when God’s time was right the mission started, he sent his son into the world to be born of a woman. And that’s what we celebrate at Christmas time, the birth of God son into this world just as God had planned, ‘the mission was under way.’
It seemed like an impossible mission, that one human being, though God, could reconcile the whole of mankind, for all time, to a holy God.
Cutting a very long story short (which you can read about in the Gospels) Jesus started his ministry at age 30 consisting of miracles, signs, wonders, healings and some amazing sermons. Then at the age of 33 or so, he was arrested, beaten, and nailed to a cross. An agonising way to die. But after three days exactly as God planned, and exactly as Jesus had said, he came back to life showing that he had triumphed over death.
This is Easter. This is why Easter is such a big celebration time for Christians, because the seemingly impossible mission had happened. So the great mission that God had planned before the foundation of the earth, started with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, and ended with Jesus victorious over death. He rose from the dead and showed himself to many people.
So that’s it! Easter has brought about the completion of the mission. However, there is just one little loose end.
For 40 days after the resurrection on Easter Sunday Jesus appears with his people on earth. He meets with his disciples on a number of occasions, he meets with over 400 people at one time. His followers who seem to be at such a loose end after his death, have now become used to the idea that he still around, he is risen, he has overcome death.
But after 40 days it’s time for him to return to his father, completing the whole mission, it has taken slightly over 33 years but now is the time to return to the father hence Ascension Day, where Jesus ascends up to heaven returning to his father.
So ascension day is not considered a major celebration in the Christian calendar, but it marks the completion of an amazing mission.
Note: Bob Dibb is Pastor of Velmore Church.
Website: Velmore Church
Chandler’s Ford SO53 3GY
Church Office: 023 8057 1414
Never miss out on another blog post. Subscribe here:
Subscribe to Blog via Email