The Story of Jesus’ Ascension
In the forty days with His followers after His resurrection, Jesus, “interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). He prepared His disciples for His ascension into heaven. Before His death, Christ said, “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (John 16:28). The Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted the ascension, writing, “he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted” (Isaiah 52:13). Jesus assured the disciples He would send the Holy Spirit. Then something amazing happened:
He was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9–11) Later, Peter explained how Jesus’ ascension fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 110:1: “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool’” (Acts 2:34–35).
Jesus’ Ascension into Glory
Returning to heaven, Christ received new glory and honor for what He accomplished on the cross. In Revelation, John described the heavenly scene: “I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Revelation 5:11–12).
In heaven, Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father, who placed all creation under His authority. First Peter 3:22 describes Christ as He “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.”
The Implications of Jesus’ Ascension
Jesus went to the grave on our behalf. Through His resurrection, we have assurance that He has beaten death on our behalf. Likewise, through His ascension, we know we will join Him in heaven. The Old Testament temple had no seats because the priests could never sit down; their work never ceased. By sitting at the right hand of the Father, Christ demonstrates that His work on the cross is sufficient.
Jesus assured His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2–3). Jesus prepares a place for us in heaven where we will ascend to meet Him one day.