At the Last Supper, when Jesus told the apostles that he was leaving, they were deeply disturbed (John 14:1). Yet after the Ascension, they were filled with joy (Luke 24:52). Why the change?
The apostles’ sadness gave way to joy because of two promises Jesus had made to them: that he would be with them always and that after returning to his Father’s house, he would prepare a place for them (Matthew 28:20; John 14:2-3). It’s this second promise that we celebrate today. Jesus has ascended to heaven, and through his Spirit, he is preparing us for the day when he comes again in glory. When Jesus ascended, he made all the angels subject to him (1 Peter 3:22; Ephesians 1:21). This means not only those angels who had already submitted to Jesus; it also means the fallen angels who serve the devil. Enthroned in heaven, Jesus has the power to restrain their malice and protect us from them. That’s why he taught us to pray, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). When Jesus ascended to heaven, his intercessory work for the Church continued. He is our advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1). It means that Jesus is always going to his Father on our behalf. It means that we will always have access to God’s presence— whether we are doing well or not so well. The ascended Christ has also empowered his Church to fulfill its mission. Paul said that God has made Jesus “head over all things,” including “the church” (Ephesians 1:22). This means that we can trust Jesus and have great confidence in him, no matter how bleak things look.
Jesus is in heaven. He is interceding for us. He has overcome even the demons. He is supreme over all creation. And best of all, he will never, ever abandon us. Isn’t that comforting?