We’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In particular we’ve been looking at how Christ was exalted by his visible ascension. We’ve also seen that the purposes behind Christ’s ascension exalt him further, namely his giving gifts to humans and his raising our thoughts heavenward. This week I want to look at another reason Jesus ascended to heaven: to prepare a place for us.
People often exalt those who prepare a place for them to live. Architects who design beautiful houses and builders who build them are given great honour.
Thus Jesus also naturally deserves our praise once we understand that part of the reason for his ascension into heaven was to prepare a place for us. Jesus says: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’ (John 14:1-3).
The apostle Paul also describes this heavenly home built by God: ‘Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked’ (2 Corinthians 5:1-3).
Sometimes we might be tempted to think that it would have been better for Jesus to stay here on earth with us. But he tells us in that passage in John’s gospel that we should not be troubled in his absence. Why? Because his ascension means he has gone to prepare our new home in heaven.
The burning question then is, how do I make sure Jesus prepares some real estate in heaven for me? Jesus goes on in the same passage in John’s gospel to answer this question. He tells his disciples they know the way and then clears up some confusion: ‘You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”‘ (John 14:4-6).
So Jesus is the way to heaven. But how do we walk in Christ to heaven? By faith. Jesus says earlier in John’s gospel: ‘For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day’ (John 6:40). If you believe in Jesus’ death for you, you are on the path that leads to a heavenly home built by God.
So how is Christ exalted in his ascension? By going to heaven to prepare a place for you to live in for eternity.
So do you praise Christ for his ascension? Do you exalt him because you believe in him which means he has gone to prepare a place for you in heaven? Joel Radford.