Mystery of Presence
by Dr. Dan Sharp, Minister of Worship
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. - Luke 24:5-53
Thursday, May 9th, marked the Ascension into heaven of Jesus Christ, forty days after the Resurrection. The Ascension is perhaps one of the least talked about or understood aspects of Jesus’ time on earth: Jesus returned to his home for all eternity, to his rightful place of authority and honor at the right hand of the Father. All heaven rejoiced as the King of kings returned to his rightful place of honor and glory.
Emmanuel, God with us, sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his people and "be with them." At the same time, Jesus tells us that we are seated with him in the heavenlies.
There is a marvelous Ascension hymn which expresses the mystery of this event beautifully. The text goes like this:
“Alleluia! Not as orphans are we left in sorrow now
Alleluia! He is near us; faith believes nor questions how.
Though the cloud from sight received him when the forty days were o’er,
Shall our hearts forget his promise, “I am with you evermore”?
The last verse reminds us of His heavenly work on our behalf.
“Alleluia! Heavenly High Priest, here on earth our help, our stay;
Alleluia! Hear the sinful cry to you from day to day.
Intercessor, Friend of sinners, earth’s Redeemer, hear our plea,
where the songs of all the sinless sweep across the crystal sea."
May you experience the comfort, certainty, and encouragement this day knowing of Jesus’ presence with you and intercession on your behalf.