Ascension of Jesus - Story Summary:
Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus called his 11 apostles together on the Mount of Olives, outside Jerusalem. Still not completely understanding that Christ's messianic mission had been spiritual and not political, the disciples asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. They were frustrated with Roman oppression and may have envisioned an overthrow of Rome. Jesus answered them:
"It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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." (Acts 1:7-8, NIV)
Then Jesus was taken up, and a cloud hid him from their sight. As the disciples were watching him ascend, two angels dressed in white robes stood beside them and asked why they were looking into the sky. The angels said:
"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." (Acts 1:11, NIV)
At that, the disciples walked back to Jerusalem to the upstairs room where they had been staying and held a prayer meeting.
Points of Interest from the Ascension of Jesus Bible Story:
• In the Bible, a cloud is often the expression of God's power and glory, as in the book of Exodus, when a pillar of cloud guided the Jews in the desert.
• Earlier, Jesus had told the disciples that after he ascended, the Holy Spirit would come down upon them with power. At Pentecost, they received the Holy Spirit like tongues of fire. Today, every born-again believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who gives wisdom and power to live the Christian life.
• The command of Jesus to his followers was to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. The gospel first spread to the Jews, then to the Jewish/mixed race Samaritans, then to the Gentiles. Christians have a responsibility to spread the good news about Jesus to all who have not heard.
• Jesus' mission on earth had been accomplished. He returned to heaven, where he had come from. He took on a human body and will forever remain both God and man in his glorified state.
• The angels warned that someday Jesus will return in his glorified body, the same way he left. But instead of idly watching for the Second Coming, we should be busy with the work Christ assigned us.
• The ascension of Jesus is one of the accepted doctrines of Christianity. The Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed all confess that Christ ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father.
Question for Reflection:
It is an awesome truth to realize that God himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, lives inside me as a believer. Am I taking full advantage of this gift to learn more about Jesus and to live a God-pleasing life?