Jesus the “Ascender”

By Mari Kaimo, co-host, The 700 Club Asia


Ascension, 1775, Oil on Canvass John Singleton Copley

If there’s anyone Whose words you always want to read carefully, it’s Jesus, because no one knows the truth better than He does.

Listen to what He says in John 3:12-13,

12 “If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven?

13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.” John 3

There it is, another double whammy from Jesus.

First here, Jesus claims to have knowledge which no one else has.

And when Jesus says, “no one,” you know He means no one. No king, no prophet, no messiah… no one.

But to continue, let us paraphrase the latter part of verse 13:

“Only One has descended from heaven, the Son of Man,” which is Jesus.

No mere man can say he descended from heaven.

When Jesus says He is the only One who has descended from heaven, think about what He is saying.

He’s saying He didn’t just come from His mother, Mary, and His father, Joseph.

He didn’t just come from Nazareth or Bethlehem.

He’s saying He came from heaven.

This is why He can tell us about “things of heaven.” Because He comes to us from there.

Where you and I can only say that we were nothing until God created us in our mothers’ wombs, Jesus is saying He pre-existed the body He had inhabited while on earth.

As the rest of the New Testament informs us, the Word of God is eternal. Jesus is saying He was “alive” before He came down to earth. He has always existed. And He just reinforced that for us with this passage.

But we’re not done yet. Jesus’ choice of a word for returning to heaven is also quite interesting.

13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.” John 3

The word Jesus uses for ascend there is the Greek word ἀναβαίνω, recorded as Strong’s G305 and transliterated as “anabaino.”

It means to go up by one’s own power. One does not “anabaino” with someone else’s assistance. When you “anabaino,” you do it on your own.

Here are some examples of ἀναβαίνω or “anabaino” as it is used in each of the four Gospels. The italics show which word/s replaced anabaino:

“After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water.” Matthew 3:16a

“When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.” Matthew 5:1

“Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded…” Mark 6:51

“Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.” Luke 18:10

“Now some Greeks were among those who went up to worship at the festival.” John 12:20

With His use of the word ἀναβαίνω, not only is Jesus saying in John 3:13 that He was in heaven before He came to earth — a claim which no human being can make — but He is also saying He will ascend and return to heaven on His own power, another thing only GOD can do.

Jesus reiterates this thought in John 6,

Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascendingto where He was before?” John 6:62

Here again, He speaks not just of ascending, but of returning to a place He had already been to before.

Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians doesn’t just confirm this for us, it also tells us the end result of Jesus’ return home, and again shows us that Jesus is God:

The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.” Ephesians 4:10

The eternal Word of God descended from His lofty throne to take the form of a lowly man that, having fulfilled His mission, He might fill all things with His return.

In case you’re not sure about what “fill all things” means, I have two words for you:

Jesus reigns!

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