(1) Ascension Day
Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead, having given many infallible proofs of His resurrection,1 He ascended into heaven. The account of His ascension is told in clear, straightforward, factual, historical language. Christ’s ascension into heaven took place on Mount Olivet, being a sabbath day’s journey from Jerusalem.2 That means it was about three quarters of a mile away;3 though the Ascension did not take place on the sabbath day. The expression is used merely to indicate the distance.
The eleven apostles were the eye witnesses,4 which surely constitutes overwhelming evidence of its reality. Moreover, during the next ten days, Peter referred to it in the assembled company in Jerusalem.5
Christ’s Ascension bears a resemblance to His Transfiguration, which Peter, James and John witnessed. The common feature is that of a cloud. 6 We might also recall that God’s ongoing presence with the children of Israel in the wilderness is similarly described; and so it was that, as Christ ascended into heaven, “a cloud received him out of their sight”.6
Surely, then, we ought to say, with Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
(To be continued)
Read: Acts 1:1-12
1: See: Acts 1:3. 2: See Acts 1:12. 3: The distance that one could lawfully travel on the sabbath.
4: See: Acts 1: 9 & 10 5: Acts 1:22 6: Matthew 17:5. 7: Acts 1:9.