By Jarrod Belcher
“While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven,” Luke 24:51. About a month ago the church celebrated the Ascension of Jesus which occurred some forty days or so after his death. This event seems to get little attention in the church but it is a very significant part of the life and ministry of Christ. In fact it’s one of the five or six great events that specifically happened to Jesus and yet all those other events get much more attention. We ought to know there is something grand here for us to understand.
One of those grand things we see in the ascension is that Jesus is glorified. An important point concerning the incarnation of Christ is the humiliation he endured. Among other things Jesus left heaven and descended to earth, he put on vulnerable human flesh, he accepted poverty instead of riches, and he endured the death of a wicked man although he was righteous. So the ascension of Jesus is the beginning of his glorification. The Son had been completely obedient to the Father’s will for redeeming his people. As Philippians 2 teaches us it would take him being emptied of all the privileges of heaven that he had enjoyed for eternity in order to save us from our sins. Not emptied of his deity mind you, but emptied of all the great splendor and glory of all that he deserved. And the Father was pleased to return that glory to Jesus and more through the ascension. The Son had endured humiliation long enough and now he is glorified among his disciples. The Father is saying to us that the Son has completed the work set before him and he is urging us to look up to him as he is raised in the air before the disciples.
So the next time you think of the ascension remember that this is the beginning of the glorification of the Son in public. Such glory continues today and will one day be fully realized when Christ returns in great power and authority.