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 experience the new life that is ours in Christ. Three aspects of that new life stand out in today’s reading from Ephesians:
May you know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19)
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 “immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe.”
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!
Points for Meditation
• As the disciples watched Jesus being lifted up to heaven, do you think that they would 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. How can Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5,8) bring you comfort at such a time?
• Exercise your hope today by calling to mind Jesus’ death and resurrection and the salvation he won for you on the cross. How can you more fully place your hope and confidence in these truths?
• Have you “tasted” the blessings here and now of your eternal inheritance? Ask God for a powerful outpouring of his Spirit so that he can manifest his power in your life.
Lord Jesus, we rejoice today in your ascension to the Father’s right hand. Thank you, Lord, for offering us a share in your heavenly life. By your Spirit, help us to lay hold of our inheritance in you—the hope, the glory, and the power that are the right of every child of God.
Excerpted from A Year of Celebration: Experiencing God through the Feast Days of the Church (The Word Among Us Press, 2001).