In his Little Book of Christian Questions and Responses, French pastor and professor Theodore Beza (1519-1605), Calvin’s successor and the leader of the church in Geneva, provides a primer on his Reformed theology in an accessible catechetical format. Considering here the reasons for the ascension as discussed in Colossians 3, Beza argues Christ returned to heaven as a sign of his triumph and to prepare the way for those who follow him.


Question: Why did Christ ascend into the heavens, rather than abide with us? Answer: With his body he did indeed depart from us here, and return to the heavens above where formerly he had no body. He did this, not only so that, while triumphing over his captive enemies he might begin possession of the heavenly kingdom as the first one risen from the dead, but also so that he might instruct us to strive for that location where has prepared a place for us. Meanwhile, he is very present by his own Spirit, governing the church as the head over the members joined to it.

Philippians, Colossians, ed. Graham Tomlin, Reformation Commentary on Scripture NT vol. 11, p. 208.