1 Peter 3:22 (ESV) — Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
Have you ever had a friend or family member go away for a while on a trip? When some of our friends go on vacation for a week or longer, we miss them. We know they are not around us to interact with each day, but we know they are somewhere. They are not in our exact proximity, but they are a few cities or states over. They are still here.
We should begin to think about Jesus’ ascension more like that than we often do. The Bible teaches us that Jesus died and rose bodily from the grave. His dead body was raised, and He physically walked, talked, and ate food. His disciples saw Him and spent time with Him. Then He left. He went to Heaven in their very sight.
Our passage today is from 1 Peter 3:22. Peter says Jesus, “has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” Notice that phrase “gone into heaven.” He isn’t dead. He is very much alive. The King of Glory lives and He has gone to heaven. That may feel like a great distance to us, but Scripture gives us enough glimpses to see it may be closer than we expect. Stephen, as he is being stoned, sees the clouds part and Jesus standing. Jesus himself promises that He is with us always. So, He doesn’t want us to view Him as somewhere far away, but near.
He is “a few cities or states over.” He is still very much alive and here, though we may not see Him physically, with us. The analogy of our friends vacationing isn’t necessary to stretch every parallel. Its main purpose is to touch on the concept of feeling their absence, but knowing they are still around. Jesus is in Heaven, but that should not be viewed as far away. The living Christ hears us, knows us, and sees us always. He is close. As He reigns from Heaven, all angels, powers, and authorities have been subjected to Him. Praise His name!
Reflection & Journal:
- How can Jesus be with us always and yet away from us in Heaven?
- Why can the vacationing friends analogy be a helpful example of Jesus’ ascension and presence?
- Why is it better for us that Jesus ascended to Heaven instead of staying here on earth?
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