I had the privilege last night of hearing Charles Williams speak at Beech Grove Church of Christ about the Ascension, when Jesus was lifted up, bodily, in front of his disciples and ascended out of sight into the clouds. The Ascension is one of the neglected truths of Jesus’ life on earth, but it’s full of important implications for Christians.
For one, Jesus was lifted up, in a body, into heaven. Today many people, including Christians, think that going to heaven is a process of leaving our bodies behind so that our spirits float up to heaven.
But that’s now how it happened with Jesus. He ascended into heaven with a body–and by all appearances, a human body.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians said that Christians will one day have similar bodies as Jesus, “who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (NASB). In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul explained in more depth that Christians will be resurrected in new bodies to join the Lord in heaven. And 1 Thessalonians 4 gives a similar picture.
It’s amazing to think of Jesus still, to this day, in bodily form, preparing a place of us, his people, the church. It’s even more amazing to consider that even after he rose from the tomb, his resurrection body still bore the marks of his suffering and death on the cross. I suppose he always will.
I serve as sports writer for the Manchester Times and preacher and elder for the Church of Christ at Fredonia. The ideas expressed here, however, are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Times or the church.