Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
The Ascension of Christ is important for several reasons. His ascension tells us something about His nature. A lot about His nature, in fact. That Christ was born of flesh, died in the flesh, rose again, and then ascended to Heaven reiterates His dual nature as both God and Man (Philippians 2:5-8). So God -- who created the universe (John 1:1-5 reminds us the Word was God, was with God, and created everything), allowed Himself to become low, to become like us, in order to bring us back in relationship with the Father. By His ascension, we see that, really, He could always come and go as He wished. But He chose to be born of woman. Why is this important?
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
That says it all, really. He came as one of us, so that His call to be Holy, to be Perfect, was not hollow or hypocritical. He defeated sin as a Man so that Man would be empowered through Him to claim that victory. Then He, as a Man, bore our sin -- became our representative -- and was crucified in our place.
The Ascension, then, reminds of what Christ left behind when he descended to our level. It also reminds us that He is the King over all creation, and that He will be coming back.
(The main body of today's post was copied from an earlier post, Why The Ascension Matters, published May 9, 2013)