Ascended on Our Behalf
Q 51. Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension?
A. Christ physically ascended on our behalf, just as he came down to earth physically on our account, and he is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father, preparing a place for us, and also sends us his Spirit.
The ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ is an aspect of his earthly ministry that does not immediately come to our minds when we think of his work of redemption. We tend to think of his birth, his life, his teachings, his death, and his resurrection. But actually, the Lord’s ascension is an equally vital aspect of his work of saving sinners. The fact is that Adam’s original sin and fall has plunged him—and us with him—into a deep sea or misery and humiliation before God. It is to the very depths of our fallenness that Jesus has come to seek and to save the lost. As our supreme champion, he has come to rescue us from the depths in order to take us with him to the place of highest exaltation. Jesus’ ascension is important because it means that everyone who believes in him will also one day be exalted with him. But more than this, the ascension of Christ also brings with it real benefits for his people. This is what we learn from our catechism this week in question and answer fifty-one. Question: “Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension?” Answer: “Christ physically ascended on our behalf, just as he came down to earth physically on our account, and he is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father, preparing a place for us, and also sends us his Spirit.”
The very last words that Jesus uttered before he was ascended into heaven were words of sending and of promise. To his disciples who were with him, Jesus said that they were going to be his witnesses to the world. But with the sending he also added a promise: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV) While we await his return on the last day, Jesus sends us to be his witnesses to the unbelieving world. And as he sends us, he also sends his Holy Spirit to empower us and to be with us in accomplishing his mandate. This is one of the advantages that we have because of Christ’s ascension. In addition to this, the Bible tells us that Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of the Father and is there advocating for us and also preparing a place for us. It was necessary for Christ to be ascended so that we could also one day be exalted with him. The ascension of Christ is a vital aspect of his accomplishing redemption for all those who are united to him by faith.