[May] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory . . . give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.
May the eyes of [your] hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way. (Ephesians 1:17-23)
On the feast of the Ascension, we are called to rejoice, both in Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and in the glorious life that he has secured for us. We pray that we would know three specific aspects of the new life that is ours in Christ: “the hope that belongs to his call,” “the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones,” and “the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.”
As Christians, our hope is secure because it rests in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Because Jesus has overcome sin forever, we can live in freedom and peace, no matter what situations we may face. We have been reconciled to God. We are no longer strangers. Every day, we can live in confidence, knowing that our God is with us to strengthen and comfort us.
Our hope is also founded in the inheritance Jesus won for us—none other than being with our Father forever, knowing him intimately, in all his splendor and beauty. In his ascension, Jesus has opened the door for us. Though we are sinners, we have been forgiven and redeemed. We are now fully loved and accepted as God’s children, and we will live with him forever.
As we live every day in the hope of our eternal inheritance, however, we can begin to taste these blessings here and now. This is part of the “surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:23). Before he returned to his Father, Jesus promised his disciples that anyone who believed in him would be able to cast out demons, heal the sick, and perform signs and wonders in his name (Mark 16:17-18). How? By the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is in our hearts, inviting us to yield to him and empowering us to live in the victory of the resurrection. No challenge is too great for a child of God!
As the disciples watched Jesus being lifted up to heaven, they might have been tempted to feel abandoned and panicked about their risen Lord leaving the earth. Think of a time in your life when you felt as if Jesus had abandoned you. Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit can bring you comfort at such a time—pray today the words of Acts 1:5, 8: “Jesus, you promised that we would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I wait today to receive power from the Spirit, that I may be your witness.”
Exercise your hope today by calling to mind Jesus’ death and resurrection and the salvation he won for you on the cross. By placing your hope and confidence in these truths, you can halt the barrage of negative thoughts that come at you when circumstances would leave you discouraged or panicked.
Have you “tasted” the blessings here and now of your eternal inheritance? Ask God for an increasingly powerful outpouring of his Spirit on you, so that he can manifest his power in your life. In your prayer today, rejoice in Jesus’ ascension to the Father’s right hand. Thank him for offering you a share in his heavenly life. And pray that, by his Holy Spirit he would help you to lay hold of your inheritance in him—the hope, the glory, and the power that are the right of every child of God.