The Good News for the day, May 13, 2018

The Ascension of the Lord (58)

Jesus says to those inspired by Him: “Spread out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News throughout creation. Anyone believing and baptized will be saved; anyone choosing not to believe will be judged guilty Signs like these will accompany people who come to believe: in my family, they will drive out uncontrollable influences, they will handle new ways of speaking. They will handle any deadly snakes with bare hands, and if they drink a poison, it won’t hurt them. They will touch their hands to sick people, who will recover.” Finally, then, Lord Jesus, after talking to them, was taken up into heaven and assumed his place in charge at the right hand of God. But they went out everywhere preaching, while the Lord worked with them, significantly confirming their message through what they did. (Mark 16)

Scholars report a later writer—more sophisticated in style and vocabulary—added this ending to an unfinished Gospel. We acknowledge that, though much of it was borrowed word for word from other Gospels, it is inspired, and it serves as a summary of the meaning of the Ascension of Jesus to heaven.

Famous paintings show Jesus hanging in air above his awe-struck apostles. It is a picture to hang on to, but the point is not the picture, but the reality—that Jesus passed from this mortal, limited, temporary home to a different one—the realm—the community—of our Father. It is the end of your road, too—a passage from a mortal, limited and temporary time into a different existence.

But I suggest we picture Jesus more as striding along the path—the Way—one foot already into that world, going through a doorway, entering that Permanent Place, a Life of boundless love—and immortality. You and I are right beside Him, our own leg striding through that veil, moving forward with love, humility, kindness and childlike courage. What we are is what we will be. What is Real and Significant now is what heaven is already, whether we know it or not.

The passage of Jesus into heaven does not close the door behind him—He opens it for the rest of us. What will be your limitless home fulfills the reality of what is permanent, true and good right now. “The Kingdom of heaven is within,” Jesus reminds you. Your life in all its miracles proclaims Him in every word and gesture. You preach Jesus ascending by Your living wide awake, your consistent integrity, healing compassion, intellectual humility, bravery and willingness to grow.

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