Christianity 201

May 30, 2022

Jesus Ascends into Heaven

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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NKJV.Acts.1.9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

NLT.Luke.24.50 Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy.

Yesterday was Ascension Sunday, so that is our theme today. I found it interesting that, in posting the two scriptures above, we think of Acts as a continuation of the Gospel of Luke, since Luke wrote both, but the Acts passage is actually a recap of what is stated in Acts 1.

Today we again introduce a new writer. Ken Ratcliffe is a member of The Salvation Army in Lockerbie, Scotland, and writes at Christian Devotions, Music and Poems and you’ll also find him on Twitter. To read this where it first appeared, click the header which follows.

Ascension Sunday

What is Ascension Day?

According to the biblical story, after appearing for 40 days the risen Jesus led his disciples to the Mount of Olive in Jerusalem, telling them that the time had come for him to be returned to God.

A passage in the Acts of the Apostles recounts the tale: “Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’

“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”

Encyclopedia Britannica says: “According to the first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles, after appearing to the Apostles on various occasions during a period of 40 days, Jesus was taken up in their presence and was then hidden from them by a cloud, a frequent biblical image signifying the presence of God.”

How important is Ascension Day?

It is thought that Ascension Day was being marked as early as the fourth century, and it remains a significant observance in the Catholic Church, as well as other Christian Churches.

Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The Feast of the Ascension ranks with Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost in the universality of its observance among Christians.

“The meaning of the Ascension for Christians is derived from their belief in the glorification and exaltation of Jesus following his death and Resurrection, as well as from the theme of his return to God the Father.

“Thus, the Gospel According to John uses both the sayings of Jesus and his post-Resurrection appearances to indicate a new relationship between Jesus and his Father and between him and his followers, rather than a simple physical relocation from earth to heaven.”

In countries where it is not marked as a public holiday, it has become common to move its commemoration to the following Sunday (a week before Pentecost) to allow more worshippers to attend mass.

Where is Ascension Day a public holiday?

Ascension Day is a public holiday in France, Germany, Austria, Indonesia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the South Pacific island nation Vanuatu.

The day after Pentecost (which falls 10 days later) was marked as the “Whit Monday” bank holiday in the UK until 1971, when it was replaced by a bank holiday on the final Monday in May.

However, Pentecost Monday is still a public holiday in various European countries, including France, Germany and Belgium.

What is Pentecost?

Pentecost always falls exactly seven weeks after Easter Sunday, which means this year it is on 5 June.

The festival commemorates the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the disciples following the death of Jesus in the traditional Easter story.

Its name comes from the Greek word “Pentekostos”, meaning 50, which reflects its origins in the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (marked on the 50th day after Passover).

Pentecost is also known as “Whitsun” or “Whitsunday” in the UK and Ireland, which is variously believed to be a shortening of “White Sunday” or to have its origins in the Anglo-Saxon word “wit”, which means “understanding”.


NIV.John.14.3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

NLT.John.14.28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am.

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