An entirely supernatural event – Jesus’ ascension. A mind blowing experience for the apostles who witnessed and for all of us who read and imagine! Yet, the whole process was predicted by the Lord Jesus several times during His ministry (John14:1-2; 16:7), and reiterated after His Resurrection. The Lord spent forty days, making the disciples understand that His Kingdom was spiritual and not political. What they could not understand then, they experienced finally.
As I reflect on both the Gospel proclamation and the First Reading, what stood out for me was that the Lord Jesus instructed His apostles to wait for power from on high – the Holy Spirit, the promised gift of the Father, to fill them and transform them inside out. Yet, their focus was mostly on the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, freedom from Roman rule. It was only after they had witnessed Him ascending to heaven that “they worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy”. From then on “they stayed continually in the temple, praising God.” (John 24:52,53). This had been the experience of most of us too, when a supernatural moment moved our faith to make the 18 inch journey from our head to our heart, from intellectual knowledge to a relational experience. Isn’t it interesting that the Lord willed that only those who were following Him everywhere, having left everything behind, were to witness His glorious ascension?
Note that the apostles went back to Jerusalem, the place their hopes were shattered as their Master was captured, tortured and killed in the most brutal way. It was the same place that they locked themselves in fear. What changed them? When Jesus lifted up His hands and blessed His apostles as He was about to be taken up to heaven, they finally realised that their King was from heaven and not of this world, and it made their hearts overflow with worship, resulting in an unexplainable joy. This joy made them return to the place they feared. Each time we encounter the Lord in worship, we too experience this change in reality, and our hearts are filled with a heavenly joy. Our sickness, our struggle looses its sting and we receive the heavenly perspective to our life situations.
The heavens that were opened at the baptism of Jesus are still open, and the connecting channel got wider as our Saviour ascended in body and spirit and continues to reign as the Eternal King. Therefore we can draw near to Him with sincere hearts and the full assurance that our faith brings, (Hebrews 10:22), having been cleansed by His Precious Blood, for the curtain that separated the holy of holies from us has been removed forever by the Lamb.
Prayer: Abba Father, raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; I am strong when I am on Your shoulders. Amen.