JESUS ASCENDED TO HEAVEN.
Jesus walked almost everywhere He went. We have been considering some of the exceptions.
Jesus sailed in Peter’s boat and Peter had to trust without it making sense.
Jesus rode on a donkey and obeyed God’s Word explicitly.
Jesus allowed Himself to be carried by flawed human beings and so do we.
We now come to the most remarkable form of transportation Jesus ever employed (with the possible exception of his ability to teleport Himself places!). Jesus was lifted up bodily off the ground and into the air until He vanished into the clouds! Acts 1:9
This was not some finale trick at a Las Vegas magic show. This was the real deal! Why did Jesus go to heaven like this and What does it mean for us?
Jesus said when the Holy Spirit came He would convict the world of righteousness because “I go to the Father and you behold me no more” John 16:10. Christ’s ascension then gives us God’s requirement of what kind of righteousness God requires for entrance into heaven: Perfect righteousness.
The problem is that, even on my very best day, I haven’t levitated an inch! I have felt lifted up after serving or worshiping or praying but if I am completely honest, it was always metaphorical and never any kind of gravity defying experience.
So first, I see Christ’s ascension is showing me where I can’t ever go or ever enter by my own righteousness. Jesus said to an astonished crowd “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will in no case enter the Kingdom of heaven”. Matthew 5:20 The scribes and the Pharisees were considered the most holy people on the planet! They made it their life’s ambition to obey all of God’s commands.
If there was no hope for them then what hope was there for the common man or the sinner?
This is where the gospel is so liberating! By faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work of satisfying God’s righteous demands, I receive Christ’s righteousness into my account so to speak. Christ’s Own righteousness! Isaiah 61:10 “He hath covered me in a robe of righteousness” The wonderful thing is it is a flying robe. His righteousness gives me the capacity to one day ascend into the heavens (as He did) and go home with Him to heaven! So who needs Red bull??
Someone may ask “But wasn’t Elijah carried straight into heaven?” Well the Bible says it was a whirlwind. 2 Kings 2:1 I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think I would prefer to go that way anyway! That would make me dizzy. I can see myself staggering into heaven and throwing up on the streets of gold! Wouldn’t that make a great first impression? Not exactly that “abundant entrance” Peter spoke of!
Perhaps Elijah didn’t actually ascend into heaven but was taken out of this life through a whirlwind never to be found again. Jesus said plainly “No man has ascended into heaven but the Son of man” (John 3:13) Christ’s ascension teaches me that there is a power outside of anything this world understands physically, an ability that is something human beings are not born with naturally.
Archimedes, the inventor of the lever said “Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand outside the earth and I could move the world!” That’s it! That’s what we need! We need a power source from outside our world in order to move our world! That is the power of God’s righteousness! That is the power of the Holy Spirit!
Paul said “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” Rom 1:16-17
So to sum up…
Let’s walk as Jesus walked, but let’s also:
Allow Jesus to Captain our lives and keep rowing even when we are tired and unsure.
Allow God’s Word to dictate our choices and decisions that others don’t understand.
Allow ourselves to need flawed people to carry us from time to time.
Allow Christ’s righteousness to remove the spiritual dead weight that keeps us earthbound!