Friday, May 24, 2013

The Difference Between the Resurrection and the Ascension

Someone asked what is the difference between the resurrection and the ascension.

The Resurrection is when God raised up Jesus bodily from the grave. The Ascension is when Jesus went up bodily into heaven and assumed His throne at the right hand of the Father. He did not simply return to heaven, leaving His body behind, but He returned to heaven as the God-Man. And He now reigns forever beside the Father as the God-Man.

In the Cross, we see the victory of Jesus over satan, sin and everything that posed itself against God and held us in bondage. However, without the Resurrection, the cross would have been in vain. And without the ascension, both the cross and the Resurrection would have been in vain. It was in the Ascension that Jesus received all authority in heaven and on earth and is Lord of all, in His humanity as well as His divinity. That, to me, is the most stunning thing, that the one who has all authority in heaven and on earth is fully God and fully man.

It was in His humanity that Jesus, at the Cross, defeated the enemy, destroyed the power of the devil and disarmed the principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15). It was in His humanity that God raised Him from the dead in His own body, real and incorruptible. And it was in His humanity that God has made Him Lord over heaven and earth and seated Him at the Father's right hand.

In His deity, Jesus was always the Lord over all creation; in His humanity, He has become King over the world. Of course, we cannot separate His divinity from His humanity — God-Man is who and what He is, now and forever. And it is as God-Man that He is now King over all.

When King Jesus comes again, it will be to judge the living and the dead and set things right in the world. It will be the final accounting. Those who know Him and belong to Him by faith know what the final verdict will be, because God has already given it in advance: Justified!

Jesus reigns now and forever as the God-Man — and what wonderful implications the Ascension has for all creation as well as our own humanity. But it could not have happened apart from the Incarnation, the Cross and the Resurrection.

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