“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:3-6).
This coming Wednesday evening Trinity is hosting a joint Ascension Service with Christ Church. As the New Testament records, following the resurrection of Jesus, He taught and was seen for forty days before He ascended back into heaven. Ascension Day is the fortieth day after Easter Sunday, and historically, this has been one of the high feasts of the Christian Calendar. Our culture has not typically celebrated it with quite as much enthusiasm as it has been recognized historically, but the Reformers considered it one of the five principle feasts of the year along with Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost. There are many theological angles that are significant about our celebration of the ascension of Jesus, and the readings and hymns and psalms and prayers on Wednesday night will meditate on a number of these themes. But one of the meanings of the ascension of Jesus is that not only has He been seated at the right hand of the Father, but now by the working of His Spirit we have also been seated with Him in the heavenly places. As we sit together at this table, we are living testimonies of the ascension of Jesus. Because Jesus has entered the Holy of Holies, we can enter the Holy of Holies. Because Jesus is our Great High Priest, and He has offered His own body and blood as the last and final sacrifice for sin, we can enter the presence of God with boldness and joy as priests and kings to participate in the great sacrifice of praise. And notice what Paul says: He says that when we were dead in trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together. Christ was raised 2000 years ago, but we still sin and face the death of our trespasses and the brokenness of others. We sin and are sinned against, but the fact that we have been raised up and seated here, only proves God’s great mercy and love. A week of hardships, a week of stumbling, a week of challenges, a week of sin can be very discouraging, but here you are. Here you are, in the presence of your King. And He welcomes you, and he knows about all of your burdens, your hurts, your struggles, and He says welcome. And your unworthiness is your qualification, the fact that you need mercy and love and grace proves that you’re in the right place, it only proves the glory of the ascension all the more. By grace you have been saved, so come.