What difference does it make that Jesus ascended into heaven? Wouldn’t it have been better if He had just stayed here?
The Ascension of Jesus makes all the difference. It means that a man just like us has gone into the presence of God. Jesus made it in. Jesus made it home. Sin, death, and the devil have stood in this world like gargoyles scowling and growling at the descendants of Adam since the Fall. The flaming sword of God’s wrath stood at the entrance. No one could pass. No one could go in. So Jesus came. And He who knew no sin became sin for us. God laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Jesus rose up victorious on the third day having paid for sin, satisfying God’s wrath, defeated death, and therefore completely disarmed the Devil.
The resurrection certainly proclaimed and accomplished that victory, but it wasn’t until the Ascension that Jesus proved that victory. He went all the way into the presence of the Ancient of Days, and He didn’t die. He went all the way in, all the way home, and He was welcomed there. He was given the highest seat in the house at God’s right hand.
But the gospel proclaims that all who are in Christ went all the way in with Him, all the way home with Him and in Him. Every Sunday at the beginning of the service, the minister says: Lift up your hearts, and you respond: We lift them up to the Lord. And this has been the way the Church has confessed this gospel of the Ascension since the earliest days of the church. We are saying that when we gather together for worship, we are not simply gathering together here on earth. No, the Bible says that we have come to the heavenly Mt. Zion.
So no, it wouldn’t have been better for Jesus just to stay here. It was better for Him to go because it proved and accomplished the arch of the whole gospel. The good news is not just that our sins are paid for; the good news is that we have been brought home. We have been carried all the way into the presence of God. And we have been welcomed there.
In the Old Covenant, the High Priest had the names of Israel engraved on precious jewels on his breastplate. Jesus is our Great High Priest, and He has carried our names all the way into Heaven. Do you believe? Then come. Come and welcome to Jesus Christ.