Summary: A look at the Ascension of Christ and its relevance to our lives today.
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
There are times when I think it would be great to be able to call God collect! Or maybe to be able to pull God aside to ask Him a few questions. Or at least, to write Him a letter. I guess we’ll have to wait until we get to heaven to have all our questions answered.
In the book, Children’s Letters to God, Eric Marshall and Stuart Hample have compiled an amusing, yet insightful scrapbook of thoughts and questions children have posed to God. For example:
I wrote you before. Do you remember? Well, I did what I promised, but You didn’t send me the pony yet. What about it?
Do you get your angels to do all your work? Mommy says we are her angels and we have to do everything.
When you started the earth and put people there and all the animals and grass and stars, did you get very tired? I have a lot of other questions, too.
Very truly yours,
Questions. Regardless of how foolish they may seem, they’re the best way to get specific answers. For example, now that Jesus has risen from the grave, what is He doing? Does He still operate within a body, or is He just a spirit? When He ascended from earth to heaven, did His position change from what it was originally? The Scriptures provide some answers. So that’s a good place to begin.
1. The Lift Off
In Acts 1:1-11, we’re told that for 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection, He remained in contact with His followers. He spoke, ate, slept, taught, encouraged, and essentially did all that He had done during His 3 ½ years with them.
But now its time for Him to head for home. Like a rocket slowly lifting off the launch pad, Jesus ascends into the clouds, leaving the awestruck disciples craning their necks, squinting for one last look as He finally disappears into the sky.
This was the 11th and last post-resurrection appearance of Christ. It was a never-to-be forgotten event. And in fact, the Church does its best to make sure we don’t forget! This is Ascension Sunday. We celebrate His lift off! Actually, it will technically be next Thursday—40 days from Easter.
There, on that day, while the Lord spoke to His followers, He raised His nail-pierced hands in blessing, just as the High Priest would do. As He did so, verse 9 says, “He was taken up!”
Life Principle: The best things in life happen to us when we’re blessing others. You can be lifted up in your spirit when you build others up!
Verse 9 also says that a cloud received Him—not a cloud such as you would see in the sky, but the Chariot of God—the Shekinah Glory of the Lord God Almighty!
It must have been some scene. When people gather at Cape Kennedy to watch a rocket lift off, I guess it is some sight. They say it is an awesome event to behold. And they are expecting it! Just think how awestruck the disciples must have been.