Brent Merten is the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Juneau, a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. (Photo courtesy of Brent Merten)

Living and Growing: Your room is waiting

Thursday, May 9, is a very special day. Although most calendars don’t note it, it is one of the most important days on the Christian Church calendar. It’s called Ascension Day. Forty days after he rose from the dead, Jesus’ disciples gathered on a hilltop where they viewed their savior physically ascend into heaven.

Some might be tempted to think of Christ’s ascension as a forgotten footnote in the Bible; a piece of theological trivia that has little or no practical impact on our lives. They’re wrong. Christ’s ascension means so much to us. It means that his work of salvation is complete. It means that Jesus has returned to his place of power and authority, ruling all things for the good of his church. It means that he now lives to intercede for people, ensuring that our prayers are heard and answered.

But there’s another important truth that the ascension of Jesus assures us of. On the night of his betrayal, Jesus told his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. I am going there to prepare a place for you,” (John 14:2). The “house” Jesus was referring to is, of course, heaven. He tells us that there is a place waiting for those who love him and trust in his promises. Yet so many people, including those who believe in Jesus, go through life wondering and worrying whether they will be welcomed into heaven when their lives come to an end.

It reminds me of a trip my wife and I took many years ago. We were driving across the plains of South Dakota with our two-year-old son. Unsure of how far we would get that day we didn’t bother making any hotel reservations, but instead figured we would just find a room somewhere when we got tired. Famous last words. It was getting late. We were tired. Our toddler was cranky. Towns with motels were few and far between. When we finally got to a sizeable city with several motels near the highway every single one displayed a “no vacancy” sign. Lesson learned: Never take a trip without having reservations again.

Jesus’ ascension into heaven and his promise that he has gone there to prepare a place for us is exactly like having a reservation. This reservation is not for a cheap motel or even a luxury five-star resort. Our room is in heaven. And this room is ready and waiting for us, whenever we get there. It’s a lavish room. And it’s an expensive room. It was paid for with Jesus’ shed blood. And it’s guaranteed by Jesus’ ascension.

That means we can go through life with complete confidence, knowing exactly what’s waiting for us when our journey comes to an end. We need not wonder about what awaits us. We need not worry about being refused entry into heaven. For our savior himself will be there, ready to welcome us with open arms.

Jesus’ ascension means your room in heaven is ready and waiting for you. And that’s reason to celebrate!

• Brent Merten is pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Juneau, a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

More in Neighbors

Fred LaPlante is the pastor at the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Photo courtesy of Fred LaPlante)
Living and Growing: Be a blessing

Years ago, I learned a great acronym, B.L.E.S.S. “B” stands for “Begin… Continue reading

Salad ingredients ready to assemble. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Mexican corn and bean salad

Several years ago, I ate at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Los… Continue reading

The interior of the Pipeline Skate Park on Dec. 7, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neighbors briefs

Join interactive design meeting for Jackie Renninger Park on May 21 CBJ… Continue reading

A new online dictionary features Lingít, X̱aad Kíl, Shm’algyack and English. (Mircea Brown / Courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute)
Neighbors: Sealaska Heritage Institute debuts multilingual online Alaska Native dictionary with audio

Platform includes resources for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian languages.

Brent Merten is the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Juneau, a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. (Photo courtesy of Brent Merten)
Living and Growing: Your room is waiting

Thursday, May 9, is a very special day. Although most calendars don’t… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Living and Growing: Twisting Scripture to suit themselves

Ever wonder why so many different people say so many different things… Continue reading

The Ward Lake Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Neighbors: Public input sought as Tongass begins revising 25-year-old forest plan

Initial phase focuses on listening, informing, and gathering feedback.

Sister Sadria Akina, Elder Tanner Christensen and Elder Bronson Forsberg, all missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, collect litter on April 22, 2023, in the Lemon Creek area. It was their first time partaking in Juneau’s communitywide cleanup. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neighbors briefs

Annual Litter Free citywide cleanup on Saturday Saturday is set for Litter… Continue reading

Tortilla beef casserole ready to serve. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Tortilla beef casserole for Cinco de Maya

When my kids were growing up their appetites were insatiable. Every night… Continue reading

An aging outhouse on the pier extending out from the fire station that’s purportedly the only public toilet in Tenakee Springs in August of 2022. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Gimme a Smile: Is it artificial intelligence or just automatic?

Our nation is obsessed with AI these days. Artificial intelligence is writing… Continue reading

Adam Bauer of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Bahá’ís of Juneau.
Living and Growing: Embracing progress while honoring Our roots

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that we are… Continue reading

Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. (Robert DeBerry/The Salvation Army)
Living and Growing: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Ever have to say goodbye unexpectedly? A car accident, a drug overdose,… Continue reading