Why The Ascension Was Necessary
Ascension of the Lord - Eastertide
Let us begin by asking two questions. What did the Ascension mean for Jesus? And what does it mean to us?
When we think of the Ascension of Jesus we picture Him disappearing in the clouds as He ascends to Heaven. He was going to join His Father, the Holy Spirit, His mother Mary and foster father Joseph and all the angels and saints. He had secured salvation for all who will receive it. His work on earth was done. Now it was only fitting that He should receive His reward for a work well done. He is seated at His Father’s right hand pleading our cause. He now remains in His glory, hidden from human sight, until He comes again to judge the world.
It was from Heaven that Jesus first came. The scriptures tell us, “No one has ascended into Heaven but He who descended from Heaven, the Son of Man’ (Jn. 3:13). It was not possible for sinful human beings to ascend to the Father’s presence, but by His Incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus has opened the way for us to follow Him. He is the only Mediator between God and the human race. Because He has ascended to Heaven we hope that we too, the members of His Body, will one day follow Him and be with Him. Let us take comfort in Jesus’ words, “There are many rooms in My Father's house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with Me; so that where I am you may be too." (Jn.14:2-3).
Jesus has opened up the way for us by cleansing us from sin. When we sincerely repent of our sins, and ask God’s forgiveness, we know that our sins are blotted out and we can enter God’s presence with boldness. We can come to know Him now, and look forward to being with Him after death. Jesus is the High Priest who has sacrificed His life for us, and still cares for us in His glory. He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb. 7:25)
How did Jesus’ mother, His Apostles and friends feel about His ascending to Heaven? Obviously they would miss Him, but it wouldn’t be too long before they would join Him.
Now what does the Ascension of Our Lord mean for us? I’m sure as some of Jesus’ friends saw Him ascend into Heaven there were more than one of two wet faces. I think Mary Magdalene would have shed a tear. It would be selfish for us to hold on to Him and not let Him go to His well deserved reward. Besides we were going to benefit from His ascent into Heaven for He was going to plead our cause before His Father. He was not just going to sit at His Father’s right hand as a spectator waiting for us to join Him.
Jesus had to leave us or He and His Father would not be able to send us the Holy Spirit whom He promised to send to be our Comforter and Friend. As soon as Jesus ascended into Heaven Mary and the Apostles made their way back to Jerusalem to start a novena and prepare for the Holy Spirit’s coming. We too must make a novena like they did. For the next nine days we are to look forward to His Coming. Not a day must go by without us saying, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your Love.” The more we look forward to His Coming the greater will be our love for the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. If we don’t do this we are the losers. It is like going on a holiday. The more we look forward to our holidays, we more we enjoy them. The Holy Spirit comes to make us to be like Christ. He recalled to the Apostles’ minds all that Jesus taught them and He teaches us to do the works of Jesus.
Lord Jesus, Your Ascension benefits everyone. You received Your reward in Heaven where You intercede for us. We receive the Holy Spirit who helps us to be like You and enables us do His work.