So, as we celebrated yesterday, did Jesus just rise up on a cloud into heaven, the end?
I don’t think so at all. In Mark’s version, when Jesus rose, two men suddenly appeared, and basically said to the apostles “What are you guys doing, standing there, and looking up into the sky??? Get out there and spread the Good News.”
The Ascension is an exhortation to us, we baptized Christians, to go out and tell the whole word about the exciting news-that Jesus died for all our sins, that he suffered for us, died for us, and conquered death, that he was resurrected. The event of the resurrection was a bodily thing. One of the accounts of Easter says that Jesus rose and ascended at the same time. But most say he rose, appeared to his closest friends many times, for 40 days, and then ascended.
The event coming this Sunday, Pentecost, is when the apostles and followers of Jesus gained the courage to endure. Christianity was kinda tough in those early days. Persecuted by the Jews, the Christians were in hiding, behind locked doors. They were afraid, yes, even Peter. But Jesus promised them that when he ascended into heaven, he would send the Paraclete, an advocate to keep the truth intact, John 16:13.
And knowing the Truth, the apostles were set free, to go out into the whole world. Now we are called to live Christian lives, for even if we preach the scriptures, unless we’re living them, our words will not be heard.
May God bless you.