Otherworldly Window – Departing in Broad Daylight
Key Bible Verse: He was taken up into the sky while they were watching, and he disappeared into a cloud. – Acts 1:9
Bonus Reading: Acts 1:9-11
Attempts to discredit the literal, historical ascension of Jesus should be rejected for two main reasons.
First, Luke relies heavily on the testimony of eyewitnesses. Jesus was taken up “while they were watching” until a cloud hid him from their sight. As they “were straining their eyes to see him,” the two angels spoke of their having seen him go.
Second, the visible ascension had an easily understand-able purpose. In the transition from his earthly to his heavenly state, Jesus could have vanished, as on other occasions, and gone to the Father secretly and invisibly. The reason for a public, visible ascension is surely that he wanted the disciples to know that he was gone for good. During the 40 days, he’d kept appearing, disappearing, and reappearing. But now the interim period was over. This time his departure was final. So they weren’t to wait around for his next resurrection appearance. Instead, they were to wait for the Holy Spirit.
As the two white-robed messengers pointed out, prolonged gazing into the sky was out of place when they’d been commissioned to go to the ends of the earth. Their calling was to be witnesses, not stargazers.
—John Stott in Through the Bible Through the Year
My Response: How can I “eagerly look forward to his glorious return” (2 Timothy 4:8) without becoming a star-gazer?
Thought to Apply: At his ascension our Lord entered heaven, and he keeps the door open for humanity to enter. —Oswald Chambers (British teacher & chaplain)
Adapted from Through the Bible Through the Year (Baker, 2006)