He ascended into heaven

Click here to listen to the audio recording of this 10-minute message. Or watch the video here on YouTube. Or read the text summary afterwards.

Today we celebrate Ascension Day – the day on which the risen Christ ascended from earth back to the right hand of God the Father in heaven. We get the narrative for this from Luke 24:46-53 and Acts 1:1-11.

It is helpful to think of history as divided into three main phases:

  1. Era of God the Father, which we get in the First Testament – humanity’s encounter with Yahweh.
  2. Era of the Son, which comprises the 30 years of life or 3 years of ministry of God the Son
  3. Era of the Spirit, which is the era we are living in now, where our most immanent contact with God is in the person of the God the Spirit

What bookends the Era of Son? It is inaugurated by the conception – when Mary conceives a child who is both human and divine. This is the incarnation, when God the Son leaves his glory and becomes smaller and smaller, emptying himself out, until he is no more than a single cell, an embryo. This is called the ‘kenosis’ – the emptying out of God, which you can read more about in a past sermon on the incarnation or another one on the mother of God.

After the incarnation at the conception, we have a continuing emptying out that leads ultimately to Jesus’ death on the cross. After that he rises from the dead, back to human life, and then he continues to rise in the ascension back to the right hand of God. I call this the Kenotic U, which you can read more about in a past message called The Kenotic U. Illustrate this way of thinking about history below.

So, Jesus’ ascension back into heaven completes his human life’s work on earth, which began with the incarnation (or conception) and concludes with his ascension. Now that he his back at the right hand of the Father, he intensifies his work of distributing forgiveness and reconciliation of humanity with God. This has always been and always will be his life’s work. And he sends Holy Spirit on Pentecost to continue his work in our immediate vicinity – right alongside and within us.

This Ascension Day, let us reflect on God’s continuous work on behalf of humanity and the great love that Christ has demonstrated for his children and the glory that he now enjoys again in heaven.

Featured image: The Ascension by Catherine Andrews, from https://www.lordsart.com/asbycaan16pr.html

4 thoughts on “He ascended into heaven

  1. Genevieve Geekie says:

    Thank you , Adrian

    Very interesting and erudite, but a clear, strong message

    XxXx

    Gen

    On Thu, May 13, 2021 at 5:01 AM Reflections of God’s Love wrote:

    > Adrian van Breda posted: ” Click here to listen to the audio recording of > this 10-minute message. Or watch the video here on YouTube. Or read the > text summary afterwards. Today we celebrate Ascension Day – the day on > which the risen Christ ascended from earth back to the right ” >

    Like

    • Thanks Gen! Blessings on this often-overlooked day. Adrian

      From: Reflections of God’s Love Sent: 13 May 2021 09:27 To: advanbreda@gmail.com Subject: [Reflections of God’s Love] Comment: “He ascended into heaven”

      Respond to this comment by replying above this line

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      Genevieve Geekie commented on He ascended into heaven

      Click here to listen to the audio recording of this 10-minute message. Or watch the video here on YouTube. Or read the text …

      Thank you , Adrian

      Very interesting and erudite, but a clear, strong message

      XxXx

      Gen

      Like

  2. Thank you so much Rev Adrian for this awe inspiring sermon.

    Like

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