As we read the gospels, we see Jesus’ goal was not merely the cross. And even as great as the resurrection was, Jesus still had another hope beyond that.
It’s good news you can apply by the end of this blog post—and then for the rest of your life.
David and the Ark
When David brought the Ark of the Covenant up from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem, he likely penned Psalm 68 and opened with the words Moses said whenever the Ark set out on its wilderness journeys (Ps. 68:1; Num. 10:35). But David understood that the Ark coming to rest in Jerusalem marked an ascension that began way before Kiriath Jearim.
It started all the way back at Mount Sinai (Ps. 68:7–8; 16-18). David wrote:
You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men. — Ps. 68:18
Man Up! (How the Ascension can Lift Your Spirit)
The apostle Paul grabbed the truth of Psalm 68 and understood God’s “ascension” to Jerusalem (in the Ark) ultimately as fulfilled in a greater ascension—that of Jesus (Ephesians 4:7–10). Under the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul likens the ark’s “ascension” from the Exodus to Jerusalem to Jesus’ Ascension from earth to heaven.
Cool. But so what?
Here we see the one, primary, personal hope that drove Jesus’ life: His Ascension to the Father on the Mount of Olives.
Surveying the gospels, it’s plain to see how the Ascension held a significant place in Jesus’ personal expectations and longings (see Luke 9:31, 51; John 6:61-62; 7:33; 14:1-3; 16:5, 10, 16–17, 28; 17:13).
The author of the book of Hebrews affirms that Jesus:
Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Heb. 12:2
Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before Him—the Ascension. But Jesus isn’t merely sitting at the right hand of the Father and sipping tea while He waits for the Rapture. Jesus continues His ministry of intercession for believers—a ministry He had while on earth.
Just as Jesus’ resurrection foreshadows your own resurrection, so Jesus’ Ascension looks forward to your own ascension—at the Rapture. Jesus revealed this truth to the disciples in the Upper Room before He died, and Paul developed it later into a full-on doctrine, our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13; 1 Thess. 4:18ff).
What is the one, primary, personal hope in your life?
Just as it was Jesus’ hope and driving passion to endure His cross because of what followed, so we also can endure ours. Why? Because our resurrection and ascension are coming.
In fact, they could occur at any moment.
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