The Ascension of Jesus: What difference does it make?

One aspect that is sorely missing from gospel preaching is the presentation of Jesus Christ’s ascension to God’s right hand. The ascension of Jesus is central to Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33-36). The ascension is given place in Paul’s summary of Christological truth (1 Tim. 3:16). The ascension is among the core tenets of the faith in the Apostle’s Creed. Yet how many sermons are ever devoted to this subject apart from, perhaps, the annual mention on the day of Pentecost? What difference does it make that Christ has been exalted to God’s right hand?

Because Jesus has been exalted to God’s right hand:

  •  He received the Holy Spirit from the Father to pour out upon the church (Acts 2:33). No ascension, no church.
  • He gives repentance and forgiveness (Acts 5:31). No ascension, no salvation.
  • He intercedes for his followers (Rom. 8:34). No ascension, no advocate with the Father.
  • He is exalted over all authority (Eph. 1:19-23). Jesus is not one among many, he is Lord.
  • He is able to renew our minds (Col. 3:1-5). Jesus’ exaltation lifts our minds and affections from worldly pursuits.
  • He has finished the work of redemption (Heb. 1:3; 10:12-14). There is nothing left for Jesus to do to secure the salvation of his people.
  • He is shown to be superior to angels (Heb. 1:3-4, 13).
  • He is the mediator of a better covenant (Heb. 8:1-6). Were Jesus not exalted to God’s right hand his blood would be no mightier to save than that of the countless bulls and goats of the Old Testament.
  • He has become the example for all his followers that glory is certain to follow suffering (Heb. 12:1-3). Jesus’ exaltation to God’s right hand is the guarantee that we will also one day share in God’s glory.
  • He alone is able to accomplish God’s eternal purpose for creation (Rev. 5). No one else can consummate God’s plan for the ages.

Jesus has ascended from the earth and is exalted at God’s right hand. It’s a pretty big deal.