Ok ... now what?
That was probably the question on the minds of the disciples looking up into the sky the day Jesus ascended into heaven. And it's probably a question on the minds of many of us today - disciples living in these last days of the now and the not yet.
Today you may be thinking - OK - Easter season's over - summer is about to begin. What's next? Now what?
For most of us Good Friday is big, and Easter Sunday is really big. But Ascension Day? Not so much. It isn’t even close to being a blip on the world's radar screen. There's no Ascension Day parades, no Ascension Day sales at the mall, no Ascension Day parties, no four more shopping days until Ascension Day. Let’s face it, compared to Christmas and Easter, Ascension is just not that big a deal.
But the reality is - the Ascension of Jesus Christ is a big deal. A Very Big Deal.
It is the culmination of His work here on earth, the coronation of His enthronement in heaven. From the heavenly point of view of the Ascension we get in Revelation ch. 5, it is a tickertape parade down the streets of the heavenly city as the conquering Christ makes his grand entrance, appearing as a lamb who was slain who has begun his reign, entering the heavenly throne room, taking His rightful seat at the right hand of the Father, as the hosts of heaven sing: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wisdom and honor and might and glory and blessing. Amen!”
This is big stuff folks - important stuff. Why? Because the Ascension of our Lord proclaims the reign of Jesus Christ over all things. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His is the Name above all names - greater than any prophet, priest, king or leader. So great is the name of the incarnational God/Man, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow - in heaven, on earth, and under the earth - and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. You might as well bow your knee and confess now - because sooner or later you're going to anyway - whether like it or not.
So now what?
Well, in the meantime, in the now and the not yet, between Jesus first coming and his second coming, for as many days as we have, “we are His witnesses” in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of earth. Baptizing and teaching and discipling all nations. Proclaiming repentance and forgiveness in the name of Jesus to all people. We don't need another mission statement - we've got our marching orders - and they come straight from the top. As God's people the church, we are to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
Luther was right when he said that the Ascension is energetic, active and continuous. Jesus reigns, in the church, in the world, in the heart of every Christian. He is here, right now, for you. To give you His forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.