Theology 101

Indeed, it IS Better Jesus Went Away

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Ed. Note: This post has been adapted from its original form. Read the full paper here.

In this series on the Ascension, we’ve looked at the implications of the where, who, and what of the resurrected Christ ascending into heaven.  What we’ve seen is that the absence of the Ascension from the thought and life of the church has meant a focus on what Christ has done for us in the past, but not on what He is doing for us in the present in personal and public life.

This and many more insights are lost when we ignore, minimize, or diminish the Ascension. What Christ has done in the past needs to be applied in the present. Scottish clergyman George MacLeod writes in Only One Way Left:

I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the market place as well, as on the steeple of the church, I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles: But on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap; At a crossroads of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek… At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died, and that is what He died about. And that is where Christ’s men ought to be, and what church people ought to be about. 

Although MacLeod doesn’t articulate his message as the legacy of the Ascension, he does catch something of the need for engagement with the marketplace and with the difficult and sometimes dirty arenas of life we are called to engage. When we understand the where, who, and what of the Ascension, we are equipped for transforming the spheres of our personal and public lives.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as we wrap up this series.

  • He is the ascended Lord of all areas of thought and life. Are you making Him Lord of all areas of your life?
  • The Spirit has been sent to empower us in the church as well as in the world. Do you draw on His power in all areas of your life?
  • Jesus promises that the Father will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:13). Do you ask him for power elsewhere and in every task?
  • Do you realize that the ascended Lord prays for us?
  • If you embraced these truths, what might be the impact on our work life?

Question: Do any of these represent the questions in your own life? Leave a comment here.

Click here to download the entire series on the Ascension and Work in one article, The Absence of the Ascension.


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