Ascension Day

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Never Ending Kingship

What would it have been like for the apostles to say goodbye to Jesus? They had abandoned Jesus in a hurry after they had had the last supper and had gone to the Garden of Olives. A group of temple guards had arrived and Jesus was hand cuffed. The apostles had run off. All of them. Some of them had been watching from a distance as Jesus was questioned, humiliated, tortured, and later on crucified on a cursed Roman cross. There had been no proper goodbye. It all seemed over. Gone are the big dreams of a liberator, of a revolution which would have marked a time of peace without an oppressor.

A number of days after his funeral, Jesus appeared again. He was back in life and the story of a liberator was still not finished. Can you imagine, that it took quite some time before the apostles understood what had happened, and to visualize what still had to come? What is really true? What about all the old ideas of a revolution and deliverance?

Jesus took forty days to talk with his friends about the Kingdom of God. He had already spoken about it so many times: the kingdom of God is like seed that has been sown, it is like yeast in bread; the kingdom of God is like a treasure in a field, like a fishnet, like a merchant and you have to receive it like a child. It remained a great mystery with a lot of imagery. But what was it? The forty days did not seem enough to explain it sufficiently. Everything still looked like a revolution, a deliverance, a greater act to bring peace. But how?

Before the birth of Jesus, a messenger from heaven had visited Mary and told her that she was going to have a son. ‘He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ The strings are brought together around Ascension. A King is crowned. A kingship is heralded. But it is quite different from the expectations of Jesus’ friends. It would be more than just a liberation of a country. It would go beyond the borders of the land of Israel, the borders of the Roman empire, and the boundaries of time. A kingship without an end.