Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him. (Luke 24)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Day of Ascension! Is it time to say goodbye to Jesus? Is Christ going away? Jesus at a great distance is depressing.
Thanks be to God that Christ’s Ascension is NOT GOOD BYE! 40 days after Christ rose from the dead, He ascended into heaven. Jesus’ Ascension to the Right Hand of God the Father is NOT Christ’s location. Seated at the Right Hand is Christ’s position of power. He raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. He put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1)
Christ’s Ascension is filled with great comfort for the Christian. Jesus has done all that He has promised you. Christ’s perfect life, obedient death, glorious resurrection and Ascension is all for your salvation. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1)
On this side of heaven Jesus is hidden from our eyes. Christ’s Ascension sharpens are ears to hear God’s promises in His Word. Jesus is present in His Holy Word. Jesus sends the Apostles to preach His Word. Men ordained into the pastoral office to carry God's Word to sinners. The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10) Christ at work in and through His church by the means of grace.
When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men. (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4)
Jesus leading captives, sinners like us, to the glories of heaven. The Good News for all Christians. Jesus is our crucified, risen and ascended Lord. Jesus is ruling and reigning over His Church.
The Disciples are filled with great joy receiving Christ’s blessing. Did you catch what they did in Luke 24? After Jesus was hidden from their eyes – they worshiped Him. We do NOT worship an "absent" Jesus, rather we worship the Lord who is with us. Jesus is really present with His Church. Jesus is in His Word ringing in your ears. Jesus is in the Baptismal waters. "Never to leave you." Jesus is in His Supper – serving you with forgiveness through His Crucified, Risen and Ascended Body and Blood.
Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? (Acts 1) The Disciples need to be reminded to stop looking into heaven. Rather be about the preaching of the Word. God's Word brings heaven to sinners. Through the Word you receive Christ blessings. Jesus is NOT gone. Jesus is present in His Word for you to hear and believe. Jesus is at work saving sinners that brings comfort through the forgiveness of your sins. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
See, the Lord Ascends in Triumph LSB 494:5
He has raised our human nature On the clouds to God’s right hand;
There we sit in heav’nly places, There with Him in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels; Man with God is on the throne.
By our mighty Lord’s ascension We by faith behold our own.