Historically, the period of fifty days between Easter and Pentecost was celebrated as one continuous festival known as the Easter Season. It was a time of joyous celebration with frequent alleluias and no fasting or kneeling. The duration of Jewish feasts teaches that significant events require significant time, if they are to be rightly celebrated. Theologian Laurence Stookey emphasizes that the explosive nature of the resurrection was “too vast to be contained within a celebration of one day.”
Today is the 40th day after Easter. It is the day of Jesus' ascension back to his Father.
So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:6-11)
It is said that Jesus had to ascend to heaven in order for the Holy Spirit to descend 10 days later on what is called Pentecost. Jesus returned to heaven and sits at his Father's right hand interceding for us. He is continually letting his Father know that his blood from his sacrifice on the cross, has covered our failures. Thank you, Jesus!
And now, we live in the final days between Jesus’ ascension and his returning - when he comes to take us with him. And what a glorious day that will be.
Art: “The Ascension” by Jesus Mafa (North Cameroun Africa)