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The Ascension of Jesus: Triumph of Life & Hope | Celebrating His Bodily Ascension

A bird surrounded by a halo soaring in the sky over a body of water

Wikipedia provides a list of space flights. The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin is listed as the first person to enter space and orbit the Earth. 1969 is the year Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

What was missing from the Wikipedia list was the ascension of Jesus. Luke tells the story this way:

"When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God." Luke 24:50–53 (NIV)

Jesus did not need a spaceship to enter space. What Luke makes clear is that Jesus, in bodily form, was taken up into heaven in the sight of his disciples. He returned triumphantly to His Father to sit at his right hand.

Jesus' bodily ascension into heaven points to a new order of life where death is left behind. If Jesus had not ascended, his life would have been like that of Lazarus. Lazarus was raised from the dead to the joy of Mary and Martha, but he died again. Lazarus had not escaped the cycle of life and death. Jesus did. He lives triumphantly in bodily form with his heavenly Father. His ascension affirms our hope in a resurrected life where we will live forever. We celebrate the ascension of Jesus and are thankful for the hope that is ours because of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for the victory of Jesus. He left in triumph. His enemies will now come under his rule. We thank you that he is returning to complete the task of making the wrong right. We look forward to the day of his return with thanksgiving. Amen.


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