The promises of the Ascension

Henry

Johan Oosthuizen wrote this column especially for Ascension Day, which was celebrated on 9 May 2024.

When some of my 1962 matric mates started wishing each other a blessed Ascension Day yesterday, I suddenly realized that this day stands in the shadow of the two big preceding days. I reminded myself of what Jesus said to bystanders shortly before his ascension.

For believers there is something incredible, but still believable, in Jesus’ ascension. Before his ascension, he gave his children two precious promises. He ascends to make room for us (in the Father’s house where there are many dwelling places). In Joh. 14:3 says: “And when I have gone and prepared a place for you, I will come back and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be.”

Then Jesus continues with the promise of the Holy Spirit. John 14:16. “I will ask the Father and He will send you another Advocate to be with you forever.” In verse 18 He says: “I will not leave you as orphans” and He repeats the promise: “I will come to you again.”

To this Paul adds in Rom. 8:33,34: “Who can accuse the elect of God? God himself acquits them. Who can judge us? Christ Jesus died, but more than that. He was raised from the dead, He sits at the right hand of God and He pleads for us!” He is our Advocate when Satan accuses and accuses us.

That’s what Ascension is all about. When Jesus ascended to heaven, his earthly ministry was complete and his heavenly ministry of prayer and intercession and mediation on behalf of us, his blood-washed children, began. Grace, indescribably great from God’s Father’s heart!

Jesus intercedes for us and I believe He does so with a prayer list in his heart. Yes, He prays for us. He prays for strength, joy and a holy walk. He prays that we will pray to Him in difficult times. He prays that we will grow spiritually and that we will stand firm in temptation. He prays that we will not love the present world. He prays that we will keep our eyes on Him.

This leads us to heartfelt thanksgiving with the heartfelt, sincere prayer:

Take my life, let it Lord, be devoted to You more and more.
Let my heart always rejoice and testify of gratitude.
Take my love; how little, all his treasures I want to bring;
Take myself; my all his Lord forever devoted to You. Amen.