The incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are indeed essential to our understanding of His atoning sacrifice. However, it is important not to overlook the significance of His ascension. The ascension of Jesus Christ is a crucial aspect of His redemptive work, and believers need to be “in” Christ and to live “with” Christ.
The Significance of Jesus Christ’s Ascension
In Acts 1:9-11, we read about Jesus’ ascension:
“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. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'”
This passage tells us that Jesus’ ascension was a physical event, witnessed by His disciples. His ascension signified the completion of His earthly mission and the beginning of His heavenly reign. Jesus’ ascension demonstrates His victory over sin, death, and the powers of darkness.
In Ephesians 1:20-23, we read about the significance of Jesus’ ascension:
“That he worked in Christ when 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. And 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.”
This passage tells us that Jesus’ ascension was an exaltation. He was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, with all authority and power. Jesus’ ascension establishes His authority over all creation, not just over believers. He is the head of the church, which is His body, and He fills all in all.
In Daniel 7:13, we read about a prophetic vision of the Son of Man:
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.”
This passage is a reference to the ascension of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of Man, was presented before the Ancient of Days, who is God the Father. It speaks to the authority and power that Jesus has received through His ascension.
As Christians, the ascension of Jesus Christ has significant implications for our lives. His ascension means that He is Lord not only of Christians but also of all creation. His ascension demonstrates His victory over sin and death and establishes His authority over all things. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to actualize Jesus as Lord in the lives of Christians, and we can trust that He will continue to work in us to bring about His purposes.
The ascension of Jesus Christ is a necessary reality for those who are in Christ. His ascension demonstrated His victory over sin and death and established His authority over all creation. As believers, we are called to submit to Jesus as Lord and live in obedience to His will, knowing that He is the Lord of all creation. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to make Jesus known to us as our personal Lord and Saviour and to work in us to bring about His purposes.
The Man-Child Remains Seated
When Jesus went up to heaven, He took His humanity with Him because He had always been fully human: He was born as a human, He lived as a human, He died as a human, and He was raised as a human. To put it another way, He was the glorified Son of Man.
This title, “The Son of Man,” was the one Jesus used most often to refer to Himself. This title, “The Son of Man,” clearly alludes to the divine Son taking on human form. Because Jesus never abandoned His sinless, resurrected, and ascended humanity, He did not abandon that name. In addition to being the Son of God, Jesus also remained the Son of Man. Jesus continues to be the Son of Man in His position at the Father’s right hand.
To truly appreciate the redemption and what Jesus means to us now, it is crucial to embrace the truth that Jesus is, right now, The Son of Man — the perfect man.
Many verses in the Bible show Jesus is still the Son of Man even though He is now sitting at the right hand of God in heaven.
But he (Steven) had the Holy Spirit in overflowing measure, so he kept his gaze fixed on heaven until he saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. And he spoke these words: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55-56)
Is it true that you are the Holy One, the Beloved Son of God? And Jesus said, “I am; and ye shall see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:61-62)
In my dreams, I saw a figure similar to the Son of Man being carried by the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days. And to him was given the kingdom, with its splendour and power, and he was granted authority over all peoples, languages, and cultures; his reign is one that will remain forever; his dominion will never end. (Daniel 7:13–14)
This chapter from Daniel provides a window into the viewpoint of Jesus ascending to God’s right hand, the Son of Man is invested with supreme authority and power.
Without a doubt, Paul summarises these paragraphs in Ephesians:
That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might bring together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; [even] in him; having made plain vnto us the secret of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in his…..according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has subjected all things to him, and hath made him the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:8-10, 19-23)
Is it possible that this text reveals God’s plan for all time?
God plans to bring everything together in Christ. So that in the church; Jesus Christ may have complete control over everything, as its Head. Finally, the church would represent Christ as fully as possible. In a nutshell, the church is meant to represent Christ in all of his glory.
However, Jesus Christ’s heavenly enthronement as The Son of Man—as God the Son carrying His humanity—is crucial to God’s plan on earth. That’s important to grasp because it shows how Jesus’ humanity serves as a foundation for the redemption of all mankind. The incarnation of the divine Son makes it possible for believers to unite their spirits with God and share in His heavenly life.
Did Jesus give up being human after rising from the dead? Did Jesus simply revert to what He was before He was born as a human being after He experienced death, the resurrection, and ascension into heaven? Having to show that the opposite is not true is unnecessary. Becoming human, Jesus has been bearing our humanity ever since, and He always will. He displays mankind’s progeny by being Himself.
According to Philippians 2, Jesus gave up something when He became a human being; we might even argue that He gave up a way of life from which He would never return. He was God’s one and only Son, and he always will be. He never denied His divine nature. However, he adopted human nature and would never abandon it. His new identity was that of the God-man, and it was in this form that He would one day return to the Father. He would share a divine nature with the Son of Man.
“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! As a result God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
An evident fundamental Christian truth is that Jesus Christ is the Son of Man, the Word made flesh. The incarnation of the Son of God is crucial to humankind’s redemption. However, every aspect of God’s plan for humanity does as well. Yes, the fact that Jesus became a flesh and blood human being and is now seated at the right hand of God is crucial to our fellowship with God, our experience of God in Christ, our position in the heavenly realms, and God’s eternal plan for His people. But just as crucial is the fact that Jesus is today the Son of Man and is seated at the right hand of God.
Why, therefore, was it necessary for the Word to take on human form for God’s purpose for mankind to be realised?
The only way for God to unite with humanity is via a human being who is also at one with God. God the Son has always been coeternal with the Father. He, too, had to join His human and divine natures to become the divine Son of Man. It wasn’t until that happened that God and people could finally meet each other in Christ.
The true significance of Jesus Christ as the “mediator” between God and man is best understood in this context. The way by which God and man may become one is His Person, His own presence among us. He is the Person who shares a unity not just with God but also with all of humankind. Therefore, God and man are united in Him.
After completing His mission of redemption, Jesus Christ ascended to the Father as the Son of Man. He took His perfected humanity with Him as He went up to the Father. As a result, if we unite our spirits with the Lord, we become one with the Father. Before Jesus’ ascension, this was impossible. To sum up, humankind cannot be united with God and seated in HIM until the God-man has risen and been seated.
“But the one united with the Lord is one spirit with him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)
The Spirit’s Bestowal
Jesus Christ’s throne in heaven is eternal and unshakeable. There is no way to improve or diminish it. His atoning sacrifice for us had been fulfilled. However, we still had internal issues to resolve before we could be redeemed. The Holy Spirit has to be sent to live within God’s chosen people for that to happen.
All of humanity’s sins have been paid for in Christ, to put it another way. However, it is now imperative that people be brought into Christ. And when they put their trust in Christ, He incorporates them into Himself. Those who are connected to the Lord begin to experience the redemption that has been provided for everyone as they come to know Christ. The only way to be saved is to believe, and the only way to know and understand Christ is through salvation.
Only in Christ has redemption been accomplished. Only by faith in Christ is salvation possible. And people become in Christ by the indwelling of the Spirit of God, joining them spiritually to the Lord and making them one spirit with Him. The ascension of Jesus was necessary for this to occur. The Man, the Son of Man, had to be enthroned as Lord of all before He could send His Spirit to make Himself Lord of people in a real and personal manner.
Keep in mind that Jesus made it clear that the Spirit could not be sent until after His ascension. Before we could receive the Spirit, He had to ascend. In Acts 2 we see this occur. Through the Holy Spirit, God has made it possible for Jesus Christ to live in His people. In Acts 2, God gave in Him, through the Holy Spirit, all the power and authority that He had received by His redeeming work.
Can we see that God is not pursuing a goal that has been, “added to,” Christ? No.
God’s plan is Christ; God wants everyone to encounter Jesus Christ; God wants every believer to know Christ as the fullness of all things. This was not conceivable until Acts 2 when believers were given the Holy Spirit to live in them.
The ascension of Jesus Christ is a critical aspect of His redemptive work, and as believers, it is necessary to acknowledge its significance. Jesus’ ascension signifies the completion of His earthly mission and the beginning of His heavenly reign, demonstrating His victory over sin, death, and the powers of darkness. His ascension establishes His authority over all creation, and as Christians, we are called to submit to Jesus as Lord and live in obedience to His will.
It is crucial to embrace the Truth that Jesus is, right now, The Son of Man—the perfect man, and His reign will remain forever. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to make Jesus known to us as our personal Lord and Saviour and to work in us to bring about His purposes. As believers, let us live in the reality of Christ’s ascension, knowing that He is the Lord of all creation, and submit to His will in all aspects of our lives.
Let Us pray
Loving Father, We come before you today to acknowledge the significance of Jesus Christ’s ascension. We know that His ascent into heaven marked the completion of His earthly mission and the beginning of His heavenly reign. As believers, we recognize the importance of His victory over sin, death, and the powers of darkness.
Lord, we are grateful for the establishment of Jesus’ authority over all creation and the call for us to submit to Him as our Lord. We understand that Jesus is The Son of Man, the perfected man, and His reign will remain forever. We ask for your help in embracing this truth and living in obedience to His will.
Holy Spirit, we ask for your guidance to make Jesus known to us as our personal Lord and Saviour. We ask for your help in working in us to bring about His purposes. We pray that we may live in the reality of Christ’s ascension and submit to His will in all aspects of our lives.
Lord, we thank you for your love and grace. We pray that we may be faithful in our walk with you and live in a way that honours Jesus’ redemptive work. We pray all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.