The ascension of our Lord not only is a mark of completion, but also a preparation. He goes before us to prepare a place for us and stands as our advocate before the Father (John 14:3 ; 1 John 2:1). The story is far from over. Today marks the turning of a chapter, and the celebration of what is to come. For as we recall Jesus' rising back into heaven, we are reminded that we, who place our faith and trust in Him, will likewise be raised to glory.
As we anticipate this Final Day, we know that we are not just bidding our time. For Jesus' ascension was far from a reminder of what awaits believers on the day of Judgment. It likewise meant that the Holy Spirit could descend upon all humanity (Joel 2:28). Cyril of Alexandria explained, "It was most fitting that the sending of the Spirit and his descent upon us should take place after the departure of Christ our Savior. As long as Christ was with them in the flesh, it must have seemed to believers that they possessed every blessing in him; but when the time came for him to ascend to his Heavenly Father, it was necessary for him to be united through his Spirit to those who worshipped him, and to dwell in our hearts through faith."
Ten days after His ascension, the Holy Spirit descended to lead us into all truth, guide us into holiness of life, and continue God's redeeming work upon earth. As the Spirit of God lives in us, we are not only transformed daily into the likeness of Christ through our submission to Him, but also the world around is transformed through us. As we daily surrender and obey God, He is able to work more fully through you and me to restore all of creation. Thus, our role is not merely one of preparation for that Final Day, but active participation for it.
Today, as we celebrate Christ's ascent, we are reminded of these things. We give thanks for what Jesus accomplished for us, as we continue to surrender and serve Him until we see Him face to face.