Forty days after His resurrection the Gospels record that Jesus ‘ascended into heaven’. But where exactly did he go?
In the early 1960’s it was widely, but inaccurately, reported that Yuri Gagarin, the first Russian cosmonaut to enter space, had said ‘I flew into space but didn’t see God.’
It seemed to make perfect sense from the standpoint of atheistic materialism – if there is a God then, where is he? But what if the assumption that the only reality is a material one that we can see with our eyes was wrong? Jesus once told his disciples ‘My Kingdom is not of this world’, and almost everything He said and did pointed to a Kingdom and a way of being that went far beyond that which had been assumed. Every miracle he performed pointed to a Kingdom that didn’t ignore or contradict the laws of nature, but which transcended them, and which led inexorably to his death and resurrection.
When the disciples met Jesus after that first Easter Day he was recognisably the same but also different. It was as if He had already stepped fully into that Kingdom of which He had spoken so often – a Kingdom that for now sits parallel to this world but which will one day be fully revealed.