THE GARDEN OF ASCENSION
The main entrance to the Garden of Ascension is located on the left side near the very top of Alto Reste Park Cemetery. It displays a beautiful array of colorful flowers and shrubs including lavender, coneflowers, viburnums, delphinium, burning bushes and boxwoods which welcome you to a walkway leading to the Garden of the Ascension.
As you walk toward the main garden you gaze upon a magnificent image of Jesus Christ ascending into Heaven which is etched into the structure elevated above the steps. The upper garden is surrounded by lovely roses, anemones, evergreens, spireas, burning bushes, rhododendron, and assorted flowering perennials around the feature. You will notice there is a second garden at the lower level of the feature which forms the shape of a heart.
This garden is filled as well with beautiful roses, glorious trees, burning bushes, lavender, sunflowers, astilbe, ferns, and many other flowering perennials. The meaning of the heart is twofold. First, Christ gave His heart during His earthly ministry and His life to save us. Second, by receiving Jesus as your Savior and surrendering your life to Him, you have the assurance of having eternal life and ascending into Heaven when He returns.
THE ASCENSION OF JESUS CHRIST
The Ascension of Jesus Christ is the Christian teaching found in the New Testament of the Holy Bible that Jesus was taken up to Heaven in His resurrected body, in the presence of eleven of his apostles 40 days after his resurrection.
The Ascension written by Luke begins in the Book of Acts, Chapter 1: verses 1-12:
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of 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 to 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.” They returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.
The following list of scriptures from the New Testament also gives reference to the Ascension of Jesus Christ.
Mark 16:19; Luke 23: 42-43; Luke 24:50-53; John 7:33; John 16:28; John 17:11
Ephesians 4:8-10; 1st Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 9:11-12; Hebrews
9:24; 1st Peter 3:21-22.
After Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9); then to two women at the tomb (Matthew 28:9); then to Peter (1st Corinthians 15:5); on the road to Emmaus to two disciples (Luke 24:13-32); to ten apostles (John 20:19-23); to Thomas (John 20:24-31); to seven disciples fishing (John 21:1-14); to eleven apostles (Matthew 28:16-17); to five hundred (1st Corinthians 15:6); to James (1st Corinthians 15:7); to eleven apostles (Acts 1:2-9; Luke 24:50-51). Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible, page 1737.
To Him, the ascension came as the culminating divine assurance that the work He had come to do had been completed to the entire satisfaction of the Father, to whose right hand He had now been exalted. “The right hand of God” is metaphorical language for divine omnipotence. “Sitting” does not imply that He is resting, but reigning as King and exercising divine omnipotence. The doctrine of the ascension is, therefore, the divine affirmation of the absolute sovereignty of Christ over the whole universe.
For the believer, our Lord’s ascension has blessed implications. Though physically remote, He is always spiritually near. Now free from earthly limitations, His life above is both the promise and the guarantee of ours. “Because I live, ye shall live also,” He assured His disciples (John 14:19). His ascension anticipates our glorification and leaves us the assurance that He has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
It brings Him very near to us as we remember that He carried His humanity back with Him to heaven (Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:14-16).
“He led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8). His ascension was His triumphant return to heaven and indicated that the tyrannical reign of sin is ended (J. Oswald Sanders).
The Ascension of Jesus Christ is meaningful for several reasons:
It signaled the end of His earthly ministry. God the Father had lovingly sent
His Son into the world at Bethlehem, and now the Son was returning to the
Father. The period of human limitation was at an end.
It signified success in His early work. All that He had come to do, He had
It marked the return of His heavenly glory. Jesus’ glory had been veiled
during His sojourn on earth, with one brief exception at the Transfiguration
It symbolized His exaltation by the Father (Ephesians 1:20-23). The One with
whom the Father is well pleased (Matthew 17:5); was received up in Honor and
given a name above all names (Philippians 2:9).
It allowed Him to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
It indicated the beginning of His new work as High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16)
and Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).
It set the pattern for His return. When Jesus comes to set up the Kingdom, He
will return just He left literally, bodily, and visibly in the clouds (Acts 1:11);
Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7). Taken from “What is the
meaning and importance of the Ascension of Jesus Christ? got questions.org.
Currently, the Lord Jesus is in Heaven. The scriptures frequently picture Him at the right hand of the Father, a position of honor and authority, Psalm 110:1; Ephesians 1:20-21; Hebrews 8:1-2. Christ is the Head of the Church, Colossians 1:18; the giver of spiritual gifts, Ephesians 4:7-8; and the One who fills all in all, Ephesians 4:9-10. Taken from “What is the meaning and importance of the Ascension of Jesus Christ? got questions.org.
The Ascension story was compiled using three translations of the Bible; At the Right Hand of God by J. Oswald Sanders taken from Experience the Power and Meaning of Christ, and portions of What is the meaning and importance of the Ascension of Jesus Christ? got questions.org.