Text: Ephesians 1:16-19; 2:4-6
16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him,18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Christ’s Ascension meant celebration and joy for the disciples as they stood there at
As a rule, days of departure should bring sorrow and grief to those who are close to the one departing. We only have to think back to times like when Lady Dianna was killed in
Jesus departure, however, was different. His followers were filled with joy as he was lifted from them, as he held out his hands to bless them. Unlike the last time Jesus was taken from the vicinity of
But what has the Ascension of Jesus Christ got to do with us? Jesus has died for us on the cross of Good Friday, and he has been raised from the tomb on Easter Sunday for our victory over death. Why is his Ascension a celebration for the church; yesteryear, as the disciples witnessed his departure; and today, as we hear the testimony of these witnesses? Why should we be just as jubilant over Jesus being lifted up and hidden from sight, as were the disciples at
In the gospel of Luke (24:44-53) we have heard that just before Jesus was taken from their sight, he began to bless them, and as he did so, he was taken into heaven. In fact his Ascension is a blessing to all people. Now all people have access to Jesus. Not just those in one time and one place outside Jerusalem, but all people of every place have access to God the Father through Jesus Christ his Son. And it was his Ascension that allowed this to happen.
Saint Paul, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, just prior to the Epistle for today (Eph 1:15-23), begins by tapping into this Ascension blessing, saying in chapter one verse three, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… (Ephesians 1:3 NRSV)
We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing of Christ which he has won for us on the cross and in his victory over the grave. The blessing is this: that he has saved us from the plight of sin and eternal death through his suffering death and resurrection. This blessing now extends to the eternal realm to which Christ has ascended, and because he is there, seated 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 age to come (Ephesians 1:21 NRSV), we too can rejoice in the blessing he gives to his church on earth and his kingdom in heaven. We are blessed as are the Apostles and believers of the
But how do we know this eternal blessing is for us? How do we know our Saviour, hidden from our eyes, wants us to dwell with him forever?
That might be alright for Jesus who sees us and is with us. But like looking through one-way glass, he is not visually obvious to us, even though he can see everything we do and knows everything about us. In fact we find it hard to comprehend that we are holy and blameless, in ourselves, let alone in his sight. And as we look at ourselves, we don’t usually seem to see, our holiness or blamelessness, nor do we see his presence. Rather all we see in the one-way glass is a reflection of our sinful selves looking back at us.
But God has made know the mystery of his will in the actions of Jesus. These actions are those of his dying in our place and giving us his life. We are his sin and he our life. But he also put in place a way to receive the mysteries of salvation worked out for us two-thousand years ago. He put in place holy means of receiving forgiveness of sins, life and salvation so we might be holy and blameless in his sight.
God gives us a way of looking through the one-way glass to see who he is, and who we have become in him. This way is the means of his word!
So today God continues to bless us. We have his word to guide us and God calls pastors through his church to pass this blessing onto his children.
This is Paul’s prayer: I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. (Ephesians 1:16-19 NRSV)
This spirit of wisdom and revelation is none other than Christ himself, given through his word, removing the one-way glass mirror. He gives himself to us as wisdom and revelation through his word so we might see that although he is ascended, we are still with him, and he with us.
And the hope to which he calls you having removed this mirror with his word is this: [That] God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).
We can celebrate the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, because in Christ we are already ascended because he has ascended. It’s only a matter of time till the one-way mirror is removed once and for all, and we see him as he is, and see who we were recreated to be in Christ. Amen.