The Bitesized Bible
Acts 1.6-11 The Ascension of Jesus
13 May 2021
by Revd Tim Bradshaw
What is the Ascension of Jesus all about?
Artists have failed to produce any really meaningful pictures of the Ascension. This is because it is almost impossible to visualise what might have happened. You note that the one above does not have Jesus in it.
The simple answer to the question is that it was the last time that the Disciples saw the earthly Jesus. But it is more than that. It is the return of Jesus to his divine glory.
Paul quotes a pre-existing ‘hymn’ in Philippians 2: 5-11. That hymn contains the lines:
6 … though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
The Ascension, in a way, is the re-filling of Jesus’ life, whatever that means.
Scientists tell us that the universe is expanding – but what is it expanding into? How can you answer a question like that? There is a sense that the universe is not expanding into space, but into ‘time’! That is even more impossible to imagine!
How could Luke describe the Ascension? The best he could do is in terms of Jesus’ return to the Father, as if he had been separated from the Father in the first place, because Jesus says:
30 The Father and I are one.” [John 10:30 (NRSV)]
For me, the Ascension is all about Jesus being set free from his earthly limitations so that he can work in all people, everywhere. So that, to take the John 10 quotation, he may be in us, and we can be in him:
23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. [John 17:23 (NRSV)]
What does the Ascension mean to you?
How can you make it real in your life?
Last Updated: 12 May 2021