Today is Ascension Day, the day on which the Church commemorates the ascension of our Savior in glory to the right hand of His Father as the ruler of all creation, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This, coupled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was the climax of Jesus’ work . . . and yet it is almost completely ignored by the world and even by most Christians. Why so?
Some have suggested that contrary to Christmas and Easter, Ascension is difficult to sentimentalize.
At Christmas, we can focus upon a baby born to a poor, homeless couple in the middle of winter. And at Easter, we can turn our thoughts to “new beginnings” and “second chances” — but Ascension simply tells us, and tells us bluntly, that Jesus is Lord.
That’s unsettling and offensive to a world that has been trained to think of itself as its own “lord.” You don’t have to be a discerning theologian to understand that if the ascension really happened, if in fact Jesus is the Lord of all lords and the King of kings — then He is the Judge of all the earth, and you can’t safely (or sanely) ignore Him.
If Jesus is Lord, no matter how independent you might imagine yourself to be, you are not out from under His authority. You actually have an obligation to obey Him and you are accountable to Him for your disobedience and unbelief, for every word that proceeds out of your mouth and for every deed you do.
If Jesus is Lord and King, then you have an obligation to worship and serve Him and if you don’t, you’re going to be in big trouble.
This is a BIG DEAL. Jesus is Lord. Not the government. Not your conscience. Not your feelings. Not the experts. Not the power-brokers, or the wealthy, or the influential.
All men, all nations, all institutions, all areas of life, all of it, is under the authority of Jesus and all are accountable to Him.
The ascension means that you have only one Lord whom you must please — Jesus. It means that you have only one opinion that matters. It means you have only one word that is the rule of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error — Jesus’ word.
The ascension means you have only One who has the authority to judge you and is fully and completely qualified to do so — Jesus.
The ascension means that all nations should acknowledge Jesus as their true king and ruler. It means that all laws ought to be conformed to His revealed will. It means that all men ought to seek to please Him in their every endeavor, in every place, at all times.
The ascension is a big deal. And this makes the ascension a problem for the world — a big problem — so, it is much safer to ignore it altogether.
But if the world ignores it, that means that Christians ought to make today (and this coming Sunday) a day of jollification and celebration that is rivaled only by Christmas and Easter. We need to hold us a genuine wingding and a proper whoop-te-do to rejoice over the reality that Jesus is Lord.
If the world doesn’t want to hear about it, so much the worse for them — but that doesn’t change the reality: Jesus is Lord. He reigns.
Don’t fight it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t deny it. The only proper response is to kiss the Son (Psalm 2).
And join us in our merry celebration, because Jesus is Lord.