Today is celebrated worldwide as the day Jesus ascended to heaven, 40 days after his resurrection. I am so excited writing this now. Ascension day of Jesus is not a myth, but it is a historical fact, specifically witnessed by his disciples. However, instead of discussing about the historical evidences that we can easily find and study now through the cutting-edge internet technology, here I want to briefly share five reasons why Jesus should ascend to heaven:
1. Ascension day proves that Jesus has ultimate authority over heaven and earth.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, NIV)
That is what Jesus said to his disciples before his ascension. Can we simply believe in his claim? Is it a foolishness to rely our faith on such “arrogant” statement? I am afraid I do not have enough time to provide the references or resources needed to prove if his claim is true or false. Instead, I would like to suggest you another articles, such as 7 Reasons to Believe in Jesus (for English readers) or Benarkah Yesus adalah Tuhan? (for Indonesian readers), for complementary readings. My point is that today people can easily access any kind of information on the internet and therefore be able to distinguish the truth from the falsity (again, thanks be to God for giving humanbeings such wonderful wisdom and knowledge for the existence of internet). This is the thing: we can personally study carefully about the historical facts and testimonies about Jesus’ life that will eventually point out to the conclusion that his birth, his death, and his resurrection are real. Not only Jesus has resurrected (which indicates his authority over death and life), but he has also ascended to heaven (which proves his authority over heaven and earth).
2. Jesus is preparing our eternal homes.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4, NIV)
Death and suffering are the common fears of humankind. Yet Jesus said that we do not need to be troubled if we believe in him (God). There are plenty rooms in heaven, the place of eternal joy and peace (no tears, no pains, no sorrows), the place where we will be with our Heavenly Father forever in the afterlife. By saying this, Jesus gives us assurance to our hope for the eternal life which he has promised to everyone who believes in him. He wants us to be sure that death and suffering are not fearsome anymore.
3. Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to be our forever companion.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17, NIV)
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:25-26, NIV)
Ten days after his ascension, Jesus fulfilled his promise by sending the Holy Spirit to his disciples, on the day of Pentecost. Holy Spirit is God’s spirit to help us, be with us, and be in us. Living in this evil world, we do not need to fear because God in His Spirit will never leave us. Holy Spirit is also our Advocate (meaning that He will always readily support and protect us). He will expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11). Jesus said that he is going away for our good (John 16:7) because Holy Spirit has been sent and He helps us to communicate with God personally anytime, anywhere, and in any situation (Romans 8:26-27). Remember that God is triune: one being in three person (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and they never contradict each other. That’s why, Holy Spirit brings us to the deeper level of intimacy with God. It’s truly wonderful that God Himself gifts us His Spirit so that everyone can enjoy a relationship where God can freely speak personally through our hearts, souls, and minds.
4. Jesus will come back as the ultimate judge to the living and the dead.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11, NIV)
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left…” (further reading on Matthew 25:31-46, NIV)
“And indeed, Jesus will be [a sign for] knowledge of the Hour (Day of Judgment/Day of Resurrection), so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.” (Qur’an 43:61)
Why Jesus again? Why always him?
His birth is unique as he was born from Virgin Mary.
His life is special as he did so many miraculous things recorded in the history, such as healing sick people and raising up dead people.
His death is terrific as he experienced the crucifixion: the most extremely painful death penalty you could ever imagine.
His resurrection is incomparably matchless as he was raised up from the death three days after his crucifixion when his disciples found the empty tomb.
And now… you want to say that he will also come as the ultimate judge on the Last Day? Should not a true judge be hundred percent innocent (no flaw at all)? What makes Jesus deserves such a great privilege to determine people’s destiny in the afterlife? The answer is simple: because He is God.
5. Ascension day implies that Jesus is still alive today.
What can we say now? Summarizing all the above four points will lead us to this very simple (yet powerful) conclusion: Jesus is still alive today. As we live today, we are not living hopelessly. We are living and waiting for his Second Coming with a certain hope. We know that everytime we pray we are communicating with a living God. We are sure that our faith, hope, and love in Him are not in vain (useless). We believe that our life here on earth is meaningful and not clueless. We have a bold confidence that one day we will meet our loving God (the living Jesus), see Him face to face, and touch His resurrected body in the eternally glorious home He has prepared for us.
(This article is written based on the author’s personal investigation for a recollection of his personal journey of faith and is neither intended to teach, doctrinate, nor offend other people, groups, or parties.)