In Jesus Christ God is for us and he is with us; our Accuser and our Redeemer both. In his crucified hands the wrong we have done, our capacity to turn away. In his risen hands, God’s enduring faithfulness, and our hope.
Jesus rises now into heaven as he rose first on the cross. Jesus rises into heaven with the world on his back, this world that is so lost. Jesus rises as the one who first came down—who came down here, where we are, in the beauty of the spring and in the evil that we do, pit and panic and fire. He was made for a little while lower than the angels, Hebrews says of Jesus, Jesus who is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, through whom also God made the ages.
“Now I come to You,” Jesus says to the Father in the great high-priestly prayer we read today. “Father, glorify your son.”
This prayer is the climax of Jesus’ ministry. He prays it with his disciples on the night of the foot-washing, on that last night before the cross. It is the last thing he does with them before his passion. And running all through it like a golden thread is his glory, and the glory of God.
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” Jesus completely reverses the direction of their thinking. It’s not about turning inwards and protecting your communal interests. It’ about turning in another direction, to those beyond Israel’s borders, to those who could never have hoped for membership in God’s kingdom.