What does Jesus’ ascension have to do with his eventual return? When will it happen and how should we prepare for it? In this third and final installment of my three-part reflection on Ascension Day this week, I want to reflect today on the significance of Jesus’ return after His ascension.
After Jesus’ ascension, two heavenly beings speak to the disciples: ““Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Throughout the New Testament, many writers tell us that there will come a day when Jesus will return to establish His kingdom fully “here on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Five things we know about Jesus’ return from Scripture are:
- It will happen (Acts 1:8; John 14:3)
- It will happen in God’s time (Acts 1:6-7; Matthew 24:36)
- It will be recognizable to all (1 Thessalonians 4:15; Revelation 1:7-8)
- It will bring the fullness of Christ’s victorious kingdom over all (Revelation 19:11-16; 21:1-5)
- It will bring vindication for God’s people in the sight of all (1 Thessalonians 4:11-5; 1 John 3:2)
Jesus, the Ascended King, will return in glory, bringing the fullness of God’s kingdom and righteousness that will lead into the establishment of the new heaven and the new earth. So let us be encouraged by the ascension of Jesus that it will be followed by His return and the consummation of all God’s purposes and plans. Let us persevere in light of the resurrection and ascension until the day of His coming or when we see Him face-to-face, whichever arrives first.
[Read Part 1: “The Ascension and Jesus’ Enthronement” and Part 2: “The Ascension and Jesus’ Intercession”]