I am writing these words on Ascension Day, when we remember the Lord Jesus Christ being “taken up into heaven” (Luke 24v51). Sadly, it is very easy to minimise, or even miss, this day – yet for the Lord it was an occasion of great joy and triumph, as He returned ‘home’, the conqueror of sin and death and the devil.
In the lead up to His ascension, Luke tells us that Jesus had opened the disciples’ minds to understand the Scriptures and, in particular, to the fact that “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His Name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (24v47).
Part of our focus at this Wednesday’s prayer ‘gathering’ was repentance and forgiveness, drawing on David’s deeply penitential Psalm 51. The sordid details behind this psalm are set out in 2 Samuel 11&12, but I was particularly struck by Nathan’s response to David’s confession in 2 Samuel 12v13,14. In essence, Nathan tells David that the Lord has removed all his sin, but his son will die. I was immediately reassured that all my sin has been taken away by the Lord – but at such a cost – the death of the Son of God. And Ascension Day confirms such assurance!
Luke tells us that “While [Jesus] was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven” (24v51). Even as He was enveloped in the cloud, Jesus was continuing to speak words of blessing! The Lord’s heart is to bless us – and to go on blessing us – with one of His greatest blessings in knowing that we are truly forgiven, for all eternity, of all of our sins. That’s Ascension assurance!
Peace and Grace