Today is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, Jesus Christ. What does the Bible tell us about this Feast?
At the end of Matthew’s Gospel we can read that “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. … Then Jesus came and to them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, that I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”
(Cf. Mt. 28:16-20)
These verses are in accord with Jesus’ teachings to his disciples, but there is no actual description of the Ascension. Did Matthew assume a description was not needed: Apparently so.
At this Eucharist we have just heard what Luke had to say, both at the beginning of the Book of Acts and at the end of his Gospel. (Acts 1-11 & Lk. 24:44-53).
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, read as the second reading this morning, Paul takes it for granted that there has been an Ascension. Otherwise he would not have said that God “raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand.” (Eph. 1:20ff).
Since the time when the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed were developed as statements of faith, and became part of the regular worship of the Universal Church, the frequent recital of the words about the Ascension of Jesus into heaven can’t help but to have woven the declaration of that truth into the fabric of the beliefs of the Church.
Today when we go forth from this Eucharist, may we do it proclaiming his redeeming love to the world and continuing for ever in the risen and ascended life of Christ our Savior. Amen, Alleluia, Alleluia!