the weblog of Alan Knox

A Theology of the Ascension

Posted by on Mar 5, 2008 in discipleship, scripture, spirit/holy spirit, spiritual gifts | 2 comments

We often hear about the importance of the crucifixion and the resurrection in developing our understanding of God – our theology. But, what about the ascension? The ascension – Jesus being taken up into heaven after his resurrection – is narrated in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:9-11. In the same passage, Mark also mentions that Jesus is seated at the right of the Father, often called the station of Jesus.

But, what does the ascension do for our theology? We know about the importance of the crucifixion and the resurrection. Is the ascension important for us today? There are a few passages that demonstrate the importance of the ascension.

First, consider John 16:7 –

Nevertheless, 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 ESV)

According to this passage, the Holy Spirit came to us because of the ascension of Jesus. If he had not ascended, the Holy Spirit would not have come.

Next, consider Ephesians 1:18-20 –

…that you may know… what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places… (Ephesians 1:18-20 ESV)

According to this passage, the resurrection through the station (which would include the ascension) is a demonstration of God’s power toward believers. This is a power that we can know.

Finally, consider Ephesians 4:8-10 –

Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:8-10 ESV)

According to this passage, because of the ascension Jesus gives gifts to believers. In the context, this is spiritual gifts, which are given through the Spirit. So, this passage is related to John 16:7.

Are there other passages of Scripture that can help us understand the importance of the ascension of Jesus in our understanding of God and our relationship with God?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 3-5-2008


    Interesting topic, admittantly it is something that I have not often thought about. In your post you ask for Scripture, I think that perhaps the entire book of Acts points toward the importance of the ascension of Christ. The “Jerusalem to Rome” motif that runs through Acts perhaps theologically stems from the ascencion account. Now that Jesus has been exalted back to the Father’s right hand (evidenced by the Pentecost event)Christians need to bear witness to Him until He returns, which no one knows when that will be.


  2. 3-6-2008


    Yes, I think the book of Acts is a good illustration of the benefits of ascension, since the Spirit came as a result of the ascension.