Jesus paid it all, all the Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
I sat on the right side, a few rows back, on a cushioned chair. A friend next to me, I was listening to the pastor speak on Christ’s sacrifice and His ascension.
About 20 minutes into the sermon, he read one verse and with one line I gasped and felt the weight of the verse in a totally different way.
You know, when we think of the ascension it sounds like some grand, miraculous thing. And it was. It is. But what were the disciples feeling? Confused? Lonely? A little undone, as their Master disappeared with a promise to send Help?
The ascension could be one of questions, but it is actually one of joy.
Sometimes I wish Jesus was still here in the flesh. I want to touch Him, walk with Him, sit on His lap and listen as He tells stories. I want to see Him as I worship Him, feel Him rub my shoulders and wipe my tears. But if Jesus were here, I would have about 2 seconds with Him every year or two, because He. loves. everyone. and there are so. many. people.
Because He ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit and so now He’s with me all the time! 100% better. In the good times and the sad times, He’s there through all of it, in me and by my side. Each day, God with us. Emmanuel. Faithful friend. He deserves the glory for each day.
Because He ascended, we have His presence. What joy there is in that! I’m one of those people that often feel most alone in a big crowd when everyone is standing in twos or threes and I’m just awkward-like hanging on the edge of a group. I try to avoid the corner, because then the awkwardness is obvious. No, I’ll be right on the fringe. But even when I feel on the outside, I’m not alone. In the midst of loud talking, laughter, big hugs between others, I have Him next to me.
The health problems you’re facing: you aren’t alone.
The financial worries you see when you look at your bank account: you aren’t alone.
The arguments and raised voices between your children, or between you and your children: you aren’t alone.
It is because of the ascension that we have His constant presence. We want the ascension. It is a blessing.
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7
The ascension always confirms Christ’s purchase. My pastor showed this to us by pointing out Hebrews 10. I promise, I’ve read these verses before and perhaps you have too, but it just clicked.
Every day, because of the Old Testament law, priests would stand and offer sacrifices on behalf of the people for their sins. I imagine people would form a line, holding a lamb in their arms or setting a cage at their feet that held birds inside.
Person after person, sacrifice after sacrifice, a priest’s work was never done.
There was always more sin. A priest didn’t have an opportunity to sit down, rest his feet, or chat with a friend. Someone else was always waiting in line day after day. Even still, it was never enough. They never made a dent in the sin problem.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. Hebrews 10:11
But then, Jesus. His sacrifice, his death and resurrection, was the final sacrifice on the alter, the final word against sin. But it is through His ascension that we see the sacrifice is complete. The purchase is made, the transaction final.
But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Hebrews 10:12
He. Sat. Down.
His work is done, the final sacrifice made. He ascended because it was complete, forever paid.
It’s finished. We’re bought with a price, no more standing necessary. There’s no more work to do.
He came and paid a debt He didn’t owe, because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
Jesus paid it all and in ascending sent us the blessing of Himself, the Holy Spirit, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:1-12).
The greatest sacrifice.
Lord, may my words solely point to You, may they bring glory to You alone as we thank you for this one-time, final sacrifice. Thank you for sitting. Thank you for paying the highest price, and living – reigning – to tell of it.