On the fortieth (40th) day after His magnificent Resurrection [Ascension Thursday], Jesus took His Apostles to the Mount of Olives. After bestowing His blessing upon them, He ascended (or moved upwards) body and soul into heaven after a cloud hid Him from their sight. How this occurred scientifically is beyond human comprehension but we do know and believe is that The Ascension is purely an act of God! While the Apostles were trying to digest this divine phenomenon, two angels adorned in white garments stood and said to the Apostles words similar to this effect, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing looking up into heaven? This Jesus who is being taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you see Him ascend into heaven.”
The Feast of the Ascension is considered the Coronation of Jesus as King and is the beginning of Jesus’ complete glorification. Although God, The Father allowed Jesus to suffer, die and rise from the dead, Jesus’ Ascension completes or is the crowning moment of His earthly ministry. In Jesus’ prayer to God, The Father, He said: “I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Heavenly Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.” (John 17:4-5).
The Ascension of Jesus terminates or solidifies His earthly ministry as Saviour and Redeemer and now, He reigns as the King… Never to be the underdog and Suffering Servant no more! Never to die no more! Although Jesus left the earth, we are not left comfortless because He has given us God, The Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth. When our Lord returned to Heaven, He sat down at the right hand of God where he traded His cross for a crown.
In our church, we use the paschal candle as a symbolical representation of our Risen and Glorified Lord, Jesus, The Christ. The adjectival word, ‘Paschal’ derived from the Latin word Paschalis (and from other languages), means Passover. Since Jesus at His Last Supper, reinterpreted the Jewish understanding of the Passover (read John 6:50-58), we hail Jesus as our Passover who was sacrificed for us. The tall, thick and beautifully decorated Paschal Candle, engraved with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega (The Beginning and The End) and the numbers of the current year, stands as a testament to the presence of Jesus with us.