Christ, lifted above the heavens, is the Lord of the universe
Forty days after the Resurrection, we celebrate the Ascension. In the church, we read the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles on this day, that tell about this event.
What is the proper content of this reading ? It tells about the departure of Christ to the Father, we know, that Christ promised the Apostles to stay with us forever. We hear about Christ's ascent to heaven, but we wonder, is it really about rising above the ground. What do the words z ,,Confessions of Faith " : “He ascended to heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty " ?
Jesus Christ Lord of the universe
For the full understanding of this, what God reveals to us in the reading of the Acts of the Apostles, read an excerpt from St.. Paul to the Ephesians, which is also read on the feast of the Ascension of the Lord :
“The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, he put everything under his feet, and he made him the head of the Church above all else, which is His Body, They are full of It, which fills everything with every means " (Ef 1, 17.20.22-23).
God has best revealed his power and glory, when he raised Christ from the dead. And the words : “Seated him at his right hand, in the heavenly places…" mean, that God exalted Jesus above all creation. He put everything under his rule. So Jesus Christ is Lord (Kyrios) the whole universe. The Father bestowed the highest glory on Him and thus responded to His great love shown in obedience to the Father's will.
The ascension event is a revelation of Christ's glory, our Lord. Hence when we read in the church on the Ascension Day, that Christ had risen up in the presence of the apostles, and a cloud had taken him from their sight (Dz 1, 9), God himself reveals to us in this image, that Christ as a man was exalted above the angels, sits "at the right hand of God" (Rz 8, 34), that is, in the glory of the Father.
In the letter of St.. Peter, we find a different picture. St.. Piotr is writing, that Christ "went even to announce (salvation) spirits locked up in prison…” (1 P 3, 19), that is, in the abyss. We find the same image in the "Apostles' Creed" in the words "descended into hell", that is, to the abyss. The Church Fathers speak of Jesus' descent into the underworld.
All these expressions speak of the same truth, that Jesus Christ is Lord of all creation, as well as these people, who existed and died, before He came to earth and saved the world. Picture of Jesus floating upwards, like the image of Christ descending into the earth, it is related to the image of the structure of the universe (outer space), what the contemporaries of the authors of the New Testament books had. According to these ideas, the universe consisted of a flat earth, the underworld and the sky, located above the blue vault. Although our understanding of the structure of the universe has changed - the truth expressed in those pictures is important for us today : Jesus Christ is the Lord of the universe.
Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Church
In a letter, which you read at the beginning, st. Paweł also writes, that God "put all things under him (Christ) feet, and he made him above all head of the Church, which is his body ". It means, that Jesus Christ is King of all creation and Lord of the Church. Through the Holy Spirit, he continues the work of salvation in the Church today, which he founded on earth. He is the invisible Head of this Church. Through his Church, Christ unites and transforms the world.
Thus, on the fortieth day after Easter, we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord in the Church. This celebration reminds us, that the living and victorious Christ resides with his Father in heaven. But at the same time this holiday tells us, that Christ rules and cares for the Church. With the ascension, the period of Christ's visible presence among the people ended, but Christ remains among his people, though in a different way, in a spiritual way, imperceptible to the eyes, real nevertheless.
How will I answer God ?
Jesus Christ is risen and lifted up for our salvation. He is the Lord of the "underworld.", earth and heaven ", Lord of the entire cosmos. He is also my Lord. Do I really put the authority of Jesus Christ above all authorities? ? Do I really obey Him and fulfill His teaching? ? How often do I meet Christ present in the Church ?
On the Feast of Ascension, I will be aware of myself in a special way, that God reveals to me Christ's exaltation and my relationship with him in the Church, whose Head is He.
Jesus Christ, Lord of the universe, I praise with the words of the church hymn "We praise you God" :
“You broke the gate of death, he rubbed her goad into the flour of the day, and the paradise land of life, you have opened true to yourself.
You are seated at the right hand of God. In the glory of the Father, the only Son,
But when the fierce trumpet sounds, you will come to judge human deeds.
Please, servants of grace unworthy, help, wash away sin that stains,
Once you redeemed us from crime, dear to her Blood in streams
1. O czym mówi nam czytanie z Dziejów Apostolskich w uroczystość Wniebowstąpienia Pańskiego ?
2. Jak możemy zrozumieć obraz wniebowstąpienia Jezusa w świetle Listu św. Paul to the Ephesians (1, 17-23) ?
3. Co mówi św. Peter on the salvation of people who lived before the birth of Christ ?
4. Z jakim wyobrażeniem o kosmosie związane są obrazy biblijne „wniebowstąpienia” i „zstąpienia do otchłani” ?
5. Kim dla Kościoła jest Jezus Chrystus według Listu św. Paul to the Ephesians ?
46. Co Bóg objawił przez wydarzenie wniebowstąpienia Jezusa Chrystusa ?
Through the ascension event of Jesus Christ, God revealed, that Christ as man is Lord of the entire universe.
47. Kto jest Głową Kościoła ?
Jesus Christ is the head of the Church.
■ Task :
1. Przeczytaj z Listu św. Paul to Phil 2, 9-10 and compare the content of these verses with the teaching about Jesus' ascension and descending into the abyss.
2. Jakie zwyczaje do dziś zachowywane przypomina ci wyrażenie : "Sits on the right hand" ?