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Ascension 2020: Everything Fulfilled - Luke 24:44-53

“Jesus is leaving” sounds like terrible news, but when we learn that it’s because He’s finished His conquest and now goes to receive His crown and begin His reign, the Ascension becomes an occasion for joyful celebration! King Jesus reigns!

Luke 24:44-53 is on the other side of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and from that vantage point, Jesus is able to make connections for His disciples that they just couldn’t see before. As He opens their minds and explains what was said about Him in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, Jesus tells His disciples that these prophecies were for the time that He was with them, which was now coming to an end since everything written about Jesus and His earthly mission would be fulfilled once Jesus returned to God in triumphant glory. Jesus ascends because His mission is complete. He has won victory over sin and death and saved the world, so now He returns home.

But even though His great work of atonement was finished, the application of God’s plan to renew the world was just beginning. His saving work was accomplished, and so now He returns to God, but He gives to His disciples the mission of applying that salvation to the world by proclaiming the gospel and bearing witness to the victory of King Jesus.

Jesus tells His disciples that God’s plan is that Jesus saves the world by death and resurrection, and then that salvation gets preached all over the world by Spirit-filled witnesses empowered from on high. The Ascension marks the final step that makes the whole plan go. If Jesus had done everything else, but not ascended, it would have all been a waste. It would be like winning the presidential race but never taking office. Getting engaged but never married. Sowing and watering, but never harvesting.

The Ascension of Jesus is the key that unlocks God’s plan for a man to rule the world in righteousness and justice in the image of God, which was God’s original plan for Adam. Adam’s failure was made right through Christ’s atonement, but now comes the moment for man to take the throne. If Jesus doesn’t ascend to God’s right hand and take His place on the throne, then God’s plan is not fulfilled, so v. 51 contains the good news that while He was blessing His disciples, Jesus parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

Because the disciples understood that the Ascension led to Jesus’ coronation as the King of kings and Lord of lords, they worshiped Him and went back to Jerusalem with great joy. In a sense they were sorry to see Him go, but because they knew where He was going and what He was going to do, they were glad.

God’s plan for Jesus was for Jesus to become King. God’s plan for Jesus’ first disciples was that they would announce the good news to the world: “God has made the atoning Savior Jesus Lord and King of the world.” The heart of God’s plan for Christians is that Jesus does the saving of the world, and we tell the world what Jesus has done. Everything written about Jesus is fulfilled, and so we announce that fulfillment. What we are called to do in light of the Ascension of Jesus is to worship the King, and bear witness to His kingship through our joyful witness.

In verse 53, the disciples did this by being in the temple continually, blessing God. This is what we do when we are called together in the King’s name to praise and glorify Him, listen to His teaching, and feast at the King’s table. By gathering as His people each week, we are declaring to the world that Jesus is King, and bearing joyful witness to all the world of the glory of our King, who fulfilled everything He came to accomplish and was carried up into heaven to receive His eternal kingdom from the hand of His Father.

Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 by CJ Bowen