Bible Insights

Celebrate Ascension Day

Jesus Must Return to Heaven before the Holy Spirit Can Come

Ascension Day occurs forty days after Resurrection Sunday (more commonly called Easter). Here is some background.

Jesus comes to earth as a man to save us. He dies on the cross as a sacrificial sin offering, dying in our place. On Easter Jesus rises from the dead. He spends forty days with his friends and followers to prove he is alive.

During this time, he tells his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for a special gift—the Holy Spirit—that Papa will send (Acts 1:4). Jesus must leave before the Holy Spirit can come.

Jesus gives his parting instructions to his disciples and commissions them to be his witnesses throughout the entire world. He has completed all he came to earth to do (Matthew 28:18-20).

It’s time for him to leave. It’s time for him to return to his Father in heaven.

After his parting words, he ascends into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). We celebrate this on Ascension Day.

Ascension Day falls on Thursday every year. It is forty days after Easter. Since Easter is on a different day each year, so is Ascension Day.

Out of convenience many churches acknowledge Jesus’s returned to heaven on the following Sunday. They call this Ascension Sunday, even though Jesus didn’t ascend into heaven on the first day of the week. It actually occurred three days earlier.

Ascension Day is critical.

This is because Jesus had to return to heaven before his followers—and we—could receive the Holy Spirit. Without Jesus leaving, the Holy Spirit couldn’t have come, and Pentecost couldn’t have occurred.

Though the disciples will no longer have Jesus live with them, they will have the Holy Spirit live in them.

May we worship Jesus for what he did when he died in our place for the wrong things we have done.

May we embrace the Holy Spirit for what he is doing in our lives today.

Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his return to heaven in The Victory of Jesus. The Victory of Jesus is another book in Peter DeHaan’s beloved Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series. Get your copy today.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.