World-famous Christian illusionist Andre Kole, who specializes in debunking claims others’ make of having supernatural power, has offered a $1,000,000 prize if he is not able to explain a magic trick. Kole came to faith in Christ as a result of trying to prove that Jesus’ miracles were only trickery. More than any other miracle, it was Jesus’ ascension—accomplished outdoors, in broad daylight, with no equipment—which brought the young skeptic to faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.
For many Christians, Jesus’ ascension to heaven is one of the most overlooked aspects of Christ’s life and work—just an afterthought. But the New Testament views it as a triumph, the pinnacle, the completion, of Jesus’ redemptive work. Jesus’ incarnation was his humiliation and de-scension from heaven. Jesus’ ascension is his glorification; it is the event in which he is exalted and glorified.
When Jesus told his disciples that he would leave them and return to heaven, they were filled with sorrow (Luke 16:17-20). But he promised that their grief would be turned to joy—and it was (Luke 24:52)! Jesus also said that it would be to their—and our—advantage that he depart (Luke 16:7). Jesus was right again! At least three advantages resulted:
 Jesus’ departure provided immediate help to all believers. When Jesus was on earth, his help was localized where he was. You had to personally encounter Jesus in order to be healed. But when Jesus returned to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit who would live inside each and every believer (John 14:16-20; 16:7; Romans 8:9). So, for Christians, Jesus’ ascension into heaven does not mean his physical remoteness, but his spiritual nearness! And Jesus, enthroned in heaven, now prays for every believer (Romans 8:34).
 Someone we love is finally getting the recognition he deserves. When someone you love is unappreciated and disrespected, you hurt. When Jesus laid aside his glory and came to earth to save sinners, few thanked him. But that didn’t stop him from loving, serving, giving. That Jesus now is receiving the recognition he deserves is an advantage for us who love him. And one day every knee will bow and tongue will confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). This is a precious advantage to us who love Christ.
 A fantastic home and reunion are being prepared for us (John 14:1-3). Jesus said that one of the reasons why he was leaving was to prepare a home for us in heaven. He said he’d come back as soon as it is. If you care about having a home in heaven, then you should be glad that Jesus ascended to heaven! Are you tired of the stress and endurance involved in living in this fallen world? Jesus is getting things ready for us. He’ll be back shortly. Hang on. And, in the meantime, the Scriptures teach believers to fix our hope completely on the fantastic home and reunion that awaits us in heaven (1 Peter 1:13).
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Trust that Jesus is fully aware of your difficulties. He’s engaged in helping you. Talk to him about your problems.
- Make it your daily practice to give Jesus the recognition he deserves.
- Fix all your hope on the fantastic home and reunion that awaits us in heaven. Don’t hope in your health, money, success, or comfort. We’re just passing through this life!
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