Why Don’t We Celebrate the Ascension?
If we do not consider the ascension of Christ an event worth celebrating, we have much to learn about what Jesus came to accomplish and what He is doing now. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul shows how the ascension left Christ’s disciples forever changed.
The church in our day doesn’t understand the significance of this redemptive historical event. We get all excited about the atonement, we get all excited about the resurrection, we get all excited about the return of Jesus, but we hardly even celebrate the ascension of Christ. We act as if we were still living in the Old Testament. We look with envy at the people who lived on the earth when Jesus was here, and we long to be numbered among those who were alive at His return. And we think, in the interim, in between time, we are, of all people, the most unfortunate because we have to live in His absence.
Now, when Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving, they were filled with sorrow. Their hearts were troubled. But what we find in this little verse in the gospel of Luke is that after Jesus was taken from them, after He ascended before their very eyes, they returned to Jerusalem rejoicing, and they were found praising God all around the town. Now, what happened between the time that Jesus first told them, “I’m leaving,” and when they were filled with sorrow and the time when He actually left and their hearts were filled with joy? How do we account for that radical change in their disposition towards His departure? How could anyone be happy about Jesus leaving? Well, the reason for their joy is simple. They came to understand why He left, where He was going, and what He would be doing.