Published 5:00 pm Sunday, May 28, 2023
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” — John 16:7 (NKJV)
Thursday May 18 was “Ascension Day,” the day the Church should have recognized as the day that Jesus ascended to the Father 40 days after His resurrection, and 10 days before Pentecost.
Not very often, in fact it is rare, that we hear mention of this very important historical event. It seems to be overshadowed by Easter, and Pentecost.
We fail to understand, or simply overlook the fact, that the ascension of Jesus was just as necessary as His death and resurrection. Without Jesus’ ascending to the Father, we would not have the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us, and the Church would not have been birthed. Without Jesus’ ascension we would not have Him seated at the right hand of God to make intercession for us (Hebrews7:25), neither would we have the power of the Holy Spirit to do the works that Jesus did, and greater (John 14:12).
We would not know of the “great commission” given us in Matthew 28; the book of Acts and the entire New Testament would be nonexistent without the Holy Spirit to call and prompt the authors to write it. They could not have been “caused to remember all things which I have told you” (John 14:26), so that the Gospel message could be written, and read by millions these thousands of years later.
Think of the tragedy of the lack of the New Testament books to inform and equip us to enjoy an ever-deepening relationship with our Lord, or the lack of Holy Spirit empowered wisdom to comprehend the “deep things of God.” Seminaries would be far fewer, those that did exist would be empty of the thousands of volumes of explanatory writing about the New Testament (something that simply would not exist) and we would be stuck in Old Testament times; never knowing for ourselves the power and presence of the Holy Spirit interacting with us as we read of Jesus, and of Paul, Peter, and John.
In the future, let us remember to acknowledge and celebrate Ascension Day; it is a day most holy and worthy of our attention.
Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.