What Does the Ascension of Jesus Teach Us?
Today it’s been 40 days since Easter. Something very important happened on this day. Something worth of celebrating. Something that establishes Jesus as Lord of all. Something that affirms our identity and place in God’s plans.
As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?”Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven.”Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a sabbath day’s journey away. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a sabbath day’s journey away.When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter, John, James, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James, Alphaeus’ son; Simon the zealot; and Judas, James’ son— all were united in their devotion to prayer, along with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:6-14, CEB, emphasis added)
Jesus assured us that his ascension is part of the big plan. It’s not going to be the end but a beginning of the next stage of God’s plan. There are things for God yet to do. Jesus had to go away in order to be able to come back again. And Jesus will come back again as certainly and mysteriously as he left.
But Jesus did not leave us alone in the world. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower us to be his witnesses all over the world. Meanwhile, the disciples needed to wait. This passage teaches us some important aspects of waiting.
First of all, waiting is not passive or done alone. They were united in their devotion to prayer. While waiting, they affirmed their willingness to do their part in God’s plans. They learned to be attentive to God’s wild grace. They were expectant, getting ready to do things God’s way. Without this waiting period (10 days) they’d not be ready for the power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
What can we learn from this?
That the heart of being a disciple is being attentive to God.
That waiting is as much part of the big picture as doing things God’s way.
That praying without ceasing is the way of life for followers of Christ.
That communing with God is more important than any busy work we can do.
That God has a beautiful plan for the whole world and each of us.
We can rest in God’s grace.
We can trust that He knows best.
We can expectantly wait for Jesus’ coming back.
In God’s time. In God’s way. In God’s style.
Meanwhile, we can boldly bear witness for him.
In God’s time. In God’s way. In God’s style.
Thank you for being beyond our imagination.
Thank you for having a perfect plan for the whole wide world.
Thank you for having a perfect plan for each of us.
Enable us to wait in grace.
Empower us to live in grace.
Equip us to witness in grace.
Come, Lord Jesus!
We expectantly wait for you.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What does the ascension of Jesus mean to you? How do you apply it into your life?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live, move, wait, and work in grace!
Image, Ascension of Christ by Garofalo 1520, courtesy of Wikimedia. Linking up today withThought-Provoking Thursdays.
8 thoughts on “What Does the Ascension of Jesus Teach Us?”
Great words, Mari-Anna! And thanks for reminding me it has been 40 days since Easter. The ascension of Jesus is just so… overwhelming. Even after being a Christian for several years, it still just blows my mind what He did for us. We have to remember that yes, it is finished… but it’s not over.
Thank you, Sharita, for commenting. It is indeed finished but it’s not yet over! Bountiful blessings to you as you embrace all that God has for you!
Thank you for the reminder that today about this special day. What Christ’s ascension means to me is that all the wrongs and pains that exist in the world will eventually be swallowed up in Christ and in His grace. I have a little sister–the sweetest thing in the world–who has had severe epilepsy since she was 6 months. Reading your post reminded me that when Christ comes again He will take her in His arms and heal her, just like He loved the children in the scriptures. Thanks for your post today.
Thanks so much, Erik, for sharing. Yes, no more suffering, no more tears. Come, Lord Jesus! Abundant blessings to you and your little sister!
Wonderful post… love how you explained the purposes of waiting on God.
Thanks so much, Wendy! May God continue to bless you and keep you according to your needs!
So I have a question: If you saw your beloved, back-from-the-dead “leader” levitate off of the ground until he is swallowed up into a cloud, to never be seen again, by you or anyone else on planet earth, would that be something you might include in your one and only “gospel” about him???
Yet Mark, the first gospel written (the original, not the altered versions), Matthew, and John say NOTHING about an Ascension! The ONLY person who mentions an Ascension (in his two books, Luke and Acts) is someone who tells us in the first chapter of Luke that he is NOT an eyewitness to any of these events; that he obtained this information, at best, second hand!
So we are asked to believe that Matthew and John, two alleged eyewitnesses to both the Resurrection and the Ascension, say not ONE word about this fantastic, supernatural event, but someone who admits that he was *not* an eyewitness is telling us the factual details of a real, historical, law-of-gravity-defying event???
Give me a break! This is a legend, and nothing more.
Thanks, Gary, for taking time to comment. Yes, there are differences between the gospels and not all the events are mentioned in all of them. There are also other important events that are not mentioned in all the gospels. But like everything in the Bible….it is a matter of belief. You either believe it or not. And the key to believing is the work of the Holy Spirit not our own understanding. Blessings to you!