Tim Chester’s latest offering is a short book (94 pages) reflecting on the ascension. He starts with one of the greatest challenges for evangelism, people want to see Jesus and because he has ascended into heaven we have an embarrassing illogical problem. Wouldn’t it have been easier for us if Jesus had stayed on earth they ask.
The book shows this not to be the case, instead highlighting in three main areas why Jesus needed to ascend to heaven.
Reflecting on the Old Testament examples Chester and Woodrow argue that they were a pre-enactment of the ascension. But Jesus provides the full priesthood because he is eternal and the complete sacrifice which none of the Old Testament examples could do. Simply put if Jesus is not ascended then we are not in God’s presence.
Jesus could have been enthroned as King without the cross, he had all the credentials but that would have left issues for us. Instead reflecting on Daniel’s dream it is important to realise that the heavenly kingdom will supersede all earthly kingdoms, because of this it isn’t the entry to Jerusalem that is triumphant but his ascension into heaven which is the triumphant climax of the story.
This chapter examines how humans have struggled to understand the physical ascension and instead settled for a spiritual ascension from Origen onwards, similar to one of Star Trek’s higher beings.
This is a helpful introduction to the topic of the ascension which one can easily sit and read in the hour.