Weather Forecast


Minister's Column

When I was at college, my classmates and I got to study about a "going up". Mildly interesting, but not spectacular. We translated a book written in classical Greek, entitled "Xenophon's Anabasis"- a diary written by a Greek soldier about his "going up," or return, home. Xenophon had been off at war, and was going home. On his way back "up" to his homeland, he took daily notes of the journey: how many "stadia" they travelled (a unit of distance from which sports stadiums get their name), how many ostriches and other creatures they saw, features of the land, and what the troop experienced. It was pleasant to translate from, but like I said, it was neither exciting nor important.

There is greater "going up" that I would like to mention. It is an event in the lives of Jesus and his disciples which has been forgotten to a large degree by many Christians, yet it is worth focusing on, as it gives us assurance of Jesus' victory over sin, death, and hell, valuable information to guide us as we await Judgment Day, and resultant joy.

Jesus had prepared his disciples for his departure; his time of "tenting among us" (John 1:14) to be our Savior was ending. He wanted his disciples know it was for a good purpose that he would leave: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-3) This is Jesus' logical argument: "If I go, that is proof that I am getting your place in heaven ready, and just as surely, I will return for you." In Matthew 28:18, Jesus precedes his commissioning of the disciples to make disciples of others with the claim, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." As the triumphant Savior, the Father would exalt him at his right hand, to "be head over everything for the church." (Ephesians 1:20-22)

Christ's ascension assures us that there is a place where Christians will be with him forever in glory; his rule as our great King assures us that he controls all things for the good of his Church, all true believers. Add to that the message of the angels following his ascent into heaven, (Acts1:9-11), and we know that he will return visibly, even as they saw him go.

Luke tells us in Acts that Jesus was "taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight." He had described the same event earlier in his gospel (Luke 24:50-53), saying that the disciples, rather than mourning their loss, "worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy." These truths can and should fill all Christians with that same abiding joy in our Savior who will return in glory.

Most churches no longer have a service for Ascension Day (May 13th this year), but don't let that stop you from being filled with the joy of knowing he is busy ruling and readying heaven for us, and will surely return to take us there!