A bishop I once served with used to say to us, with a look of joy upon his face, that, because of the Ascension, there was a human heart beating beside the throne of God. I was more impressed back then with the look of joy than I was with the idea, as you don’t often see bishops with a look of joy upon their faces.
It was years later, after I became a parent and, perhaps after I became a bishop myself, that I better understood the point he was making. Because Jesus is a human being as well as being a divine being, there is someone in heaven who knows what it’s like to be tired, hungry, or afraid, and what it means to act wrongly because that momentary experience overwhelms our self-control. It means that there is someone in heaven who has experienced what it is to feel cut off and unable to understand what is happening in the world; and how that can lead us to despair.
Jesus did not sin. But he experienced all the circumstances that cause us to sin. And just as adults recognize that sometimes children act out of ignorance or out of fear, so too does Jesus recognize that about us. The Ascension is Christmas in reverse. God came down in human form so that human form and experience could be taken to the throne of heaven, transforming what it is to be human and forever changing our relationship to the divine.
The direct link to the video of the sermon is here.