Yesterday was an important day in the Christian calendar, but because it always falls on a Thursday, many believers in western society ignore it, and that’s unfortunate.
It was Ascension Day.
It commemorates the ascension of Jesus, 40 days after he rose from the dead. And 40 days after Easter Sunday always falls on a Thursday. While we in North America don’t celebrate it widely (though many Anglicans, especially those whose parish churches are named “The Church of the Ascension”, will have special services for it), in much of western Europe, it’s still a public holiday.
Why does it matter? Why should we mark the ascension of Jesus?
It fulfills the promise he made to the disciples, even before he went to the cross. In John 14.28, Jesus told them, “I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am” (NLT).
Of course, the disciples didn’t understand this at the time, though everything became clear as time went on.
Jesus, in ascending to heaven, went to be with the Father, and began his promised role as our Intercessor. From that day forward, Jesus’ primary responsibility as the Second Person of the Trinity would be to pray for us.
Isn’t that amazing? Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father’s throne in heaven, interceding on our behalf. And it all began on that first Ascension Day.
When we pray in Jesus’ name, he lays our case before the throne of grace. Think of that every year, 40 days after Easter. And think of it every day as you pray in the powerful name of Jesus.