Director of Faith and Mission

10 May 2024, 1:30PM

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And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it. 

Mark 16:19-20 

Ascension was considered to be confirmation of divine approval with the ascended acceding to heavenly power. It is not an easy concept to understand or explain and yet it is of such significance in the First Testament that Jesus too ascends into heaven having given his great missionary mandate to his disciples. Amongst those who ascended in the scriptures were Enoch, Elijah, Baruch, Ezra and Moses. The emphasis was upward, towards the heavens themselves. This is from a pre-Galilean worldview where the firmament was unchanging and from where God ruled over creation. The last of the ascended is Jesus. The effect of this most crucial remembrance of the Jesus story being both a literal and symbolic event.  

Literally, Jesus’ ascension is a way of explaining who Jesus was. For if Jesus is the Son of God, his ascension is the perfect completion, the total vindication of his life, death, and resurrection. As a symbolic event, Jesus’ ascension marks the historical beginning of the Messianic kingdom. The ascended Christ rules at God’s right hand. The writer of Acts intimately links Jesus’ ascension with the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost.  

The part we miss because of the grandeur of this divine vision and action is what happens to the watching disciples, and by extension to you and me as we stand in awe at the spectacle.  

Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, prays this most gracious and wonderful prayer (Ephesians 1:17f) 

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers.  

This extraordinary insight calls for the gifts of wisdom, perception and full knowledge of HIM – Jesus the Lord. The eyes of our minds must see what God alone in Jesus can offer. So, this action takes place within us – not just ‘out there’ to Jesus. The ascension means that I can break through the limitations of my fears and anxieties in my life and gain a view of what is to come, first of all as a vision and then as a new reality. Thus, transformed by the Spirit’s power we are nourished for our mission – to take this good news to the world, to see the world anew, refreshed.   

Wishing all our mums a happy Mother’s Day. 


Mr Peter Douglas 

Director of Faith and Mission