From Father Andrew Bahhi: Why we Celebrate the Ascension Feast
Today, we celebrate a very important feast, we call the Ascension to Heaven. One day, God out of his love a long time ago after Adam and Eve broke the commandment of God, said “From your seed will come the one who will smash the head of the serpent.” (Genesis 3:15)
When Jesus ascended to heaven, he fulfilled all the prophesies and all the stories in him. He is without sin, without any blemish. This absolute and perfect God, after he was raised, was with the disciples for 40 days explaining the secrets of the kingdom. And telling them and explaining everything – we can read this very obviously in the Book of Acts.
He took them to the top of the Mount of Olive, and then he blessed them, which is why I bless us at the beginning of every sermon. If we believe he is present among us, we believe he is blessing us as well.
He will come back in the same way. Our Eastern Orthodox theology says we all look to the East, saying “Lord, we are waiting for you.” The sun, as Jesus says, is the light of the world. We are asking our savior, in the way we look to the sun “we are waiting your second coming.”
You may ask, as a Christian today, how can I live the spiritual benefit of this feast? Jesus said, “I am going up to heaven, so that everyone who believes in me one day will go back to heaven.” This feast is an example for everyone who wants to go to heaven. To spend eternity in heaven, you must believe in him.
We must understand three important things:
- When Jesus was taken to heaven, that was a sign that his earthly mission was done. He had nothing more to do as the incarnate person in the Holy Trinity. He came to put his life to save everyone who has sinned. The salvation work was done when Jesus went to heaven.
- We have to understand that not only did Jesus do his earthly mission, but this mission was done successfully. Jesus’ last sentence on the cross was “It is finished” or “I came to save you and it was accomplished.”
- Jesus told the disciples to remain in Jerusalem, until they receive the Holy Spirit, the power from above. They believed him and prayed every day in the upper room of Zion. And 10 days later, he sent the Holy Spirit.
The job of the Holy Spirit is to help all of us to repent and believe in Jesus. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot believe in Jesus, cannot believe in God.
In John 14:2, Jesus said “In my father’s house there are many dwelling places” – he is saying I will go up and prepare a place for you. Can you imagine how beautiful this place will look? This is the eternal life for all those who believe in him. He was doing this to tell you, “I will give you the crown of glory if you believe in me. The way I was glorified in heave, the same will be for you.”
The call of the Holy Spirit is calling us to repent, open our heart, and have full faith in Jesus Christ so that we may be taken up to heaven.
Learn more from Father Andrew’s sermon video here.
June 17, 2018