Ascended into Heaven

After rising from the dead, the Lord spent forty days with His disciples teaching them the deeper meanings of the resurrection, and giving them His final instructions before gloriously ascending into heaven. While ascending from the Mount of Olives, He commissioned the Apostles to make disciples of all the nations and commanded that they baptise them in the name of the Holy Trinity.

Soaring into heaven, Jesus presented His glorified human nature to the Father and having fulfilled the divine Will in all things, was enthroned at His right hand. Fulfilling the promise to send the Holy Spirit, He left one thing to be finished, being His second coming, and the judgement of the living and the dead. This final prophecy concerning Jesus was proclaimed by the angels who appeared at the Ascension saying that Jesus will return in the same manner the disciples saw Him ascend into heaven (Acts 1:11). This is also captured in the icon of the Ascension where Christ seems as though He is both ascending and descending.

Consequently, most people can understand how the living will be judged, but how will Christ judge the dead? St Paul tells us that the dead will be raised just as Jesus was raised. He emphasised that “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen”, and added that without the resurrection our faith is useless and we are the most pitiful of all people (1 Corinthians 15:13-19).

Evidently, everything we see in Jesus is a fulfilment of what each of us can expect in our own lives. He died on the Cross and was buried, we also will die and be buried. He rose, and we too will be raised. He was presented to the Father, as we will be presented and kneel before Him. He underwent trial and was sentenced, and we all will be subject to judgement.

Now the question for us is to what shall we resurrect? Jesus tells us that “those who have done good [will rise] to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:29). If we have been baptised and believe in Jesus Christ according to all we proclaim in the Creed, then let us not stumble on this point, namely the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come.

Directing their attention up to heaven, the disciples gazed as the Lord ascended into heaven. May we also lift up our hearts and raise our minds to the heights of heaven and the presence of God. Let us remain steadfastly in His company throughout our lives so that when Christ comes to fulfil His final prophecy, we may ascend into heaven with Him.


Source: Lychnos June – July 2021