Luke 24:44-52 (Acts 1:1-11)
Have you asked yourself, why Jesus went to heaven? This is a question we as Christians should ask and have an answer for. The answer comes from the book of answers that the whole Christian Church has consulted for 2000 years. The question concerning the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven leads us to know who is the God we Christians believe in and worship. It teaches us to better understand why and how God is Triune: one in three and three in one.
The ascension of Jesus was something that the disciples never forgot. In the same way as they never forgot seeing Him dying on the cross on Golgotha, and as they never forgot seeing Him alive again and being together with Him for forty days between his Resurrection day and his Ascension day.
When Jesus rose into heaven right before their eyes, the disciples knew that He was going to where God was, to heaven, as the disciples had been taught since they were children. What God did was to show the disciples in a picture form -- a living, moving picture -- like our movies -- that Jesus went to be with God himself. It does not mean that God and Jesus Christ are two men, one old, the other young, sitting on a cloud or behind the rainbow in a place in space, like artists have painted God and his Son, and the Holy Spirit as a dove. These pictures are ways human artists have tried to show and explain God the Father, the Son and the Spirit of Holy Spirit as three together.
When the disciples saw that their Master and Teacher Jesus was going to be with God, that is, together with God and to being one and the same with God, then they understood that all that Jesus did and taught, and said about Himself was God's own truth -- otherwise He would not have been raised from the dead, nor would He have gone from this earth and human life into heaven or to be one with God. It meant then and means for us today that Jesus spoke the holy truth when He said to the Jews who did not believe in Him like His disciples did: John 8: 56-59. Jesus made it clear to the unbelievers that He was eternal as God; but the unbelievers’ answer was that they wanted to kill Him by stoning Him to death as punishment for blasphemy. To the unbelievers He was dishonoring God by saying that He was as timeless as God. Also the high priest condemned Jesus to death on the cross for dishonoring or blaspheming God. If the high priest and others who did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God and Immanuel or God come to be with his people would have been right, they would have had the right to put Jesus to death under the laws of God from the Old testament. And He would have remained dead. (Matthew 26:63-66). Jesus said to his disciples: “I and the Father are one” (Jh. 10:30) and: "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 14:9.11) If Jesus had not been speaking the holy truth about God the Father and Himself as God's Son, He would not have been resurrected from the dead and taken to heaven; He would have remained a crucified and damned dead human.
When the disciples saw Jesus in his resurrected body, as we know from the story of Doubting Thomas, they fell before Him and said to Him what up to that time they would say only to the unseen Almighty God Jehovah: "My Lord, and my God!"
The second important reason for Jesus to go to heaven or to God was to send the Spirit, Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ -- the Third Person of God. The Spirit has many names because He is one with God and and shares all of God first with the disciples and then thousands of Jews who were baptized into Jesus Christ and millions and thousands of millions of people all over the world during 2000 years after the time when Jesus was on the earth and before He went to heaven. If Jesus had not gone to heaven, then neither the disciples nor the Jews who made up the first Christian church in this world and all the other Christians from hundreds of different peoples and languages and cultures and all races would not have become Christians. There would not have been a Christian church nor western culture in this world. The work of the Spirit was and is to bring people to a knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ as true God of true God. Jesus told his disciples who the Holy Spirit is and how He is one with Him and the Father: John 14:16-17 and 16:13-15.
We have the Holy Spirit now as God with us just as Jesus was God himself with the disciples and as He was to the Jewish people. The Holy Spirit is God with us from our baptism on and is now in this congregation and with the whole of the world wide Christian church.
There we have the triune God: God who is one in three and three in one at the same time. It can be hard for us to understand; but do not be worried, because God understands all things and knows all things and can do what our mind and understanding cannot picture or know. Trust Him in Jesus and the Bible.
One of the most important things that Jesus has done for us from heaven is made us God's children through the work of the Spirit: We read in the Holy Scriptures: Romans: 8:14.16-17. Amen.
Ascension image courtesy of www.christiansunite.com
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