A Surprising Send-Off
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Forty days. That’s how long Jesus walked the earth and appeared before His apostles and many other people after He suffered and died (Acts 1:1-3). And then the time came when He ascended into heaven. We celebrate that event today—40 days after Easter—as Ascension Day.
Have you ever thought about how His close circle of friends felt as they watched Jesus be carried up into the clouds? After all, they’d lived closely by His side for three years. They’d heard His teachings and watched Him heal countless hurting people. They were devastated and heartbroken when He was crucified on the cross. And then He began appearing to them and talking with them again. He was alive! And in a little more than a month, He left Earth... and them.
Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. (Luke 24:50-51 NLT)
I’m not great at goodbyes. When my grandchildren and their parents moved to Japan, I cried a ridiculous amount of tears at the airport and moped for days. But it was much different for the apostles. I expected to read that they were downtrodden or some other biblical word for sad. But the last two verses of Luke 24 say this:
So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God. (Luke 24:52-53)
I love that! They were not moping. They were praising! Filled with great joy. What an example for us to follow. Their focus does not appear to have been on themselves and how they were missing Him. Jesus the Son had gone to be with God the Father, just like He said He would. They rejoiced and praised!
Regardless of the sorrows and trials of this life, we are encouraged by Jesus’ words: “Take heart because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He is worthy of all praise. When you give Him your heart and soul, He will help you turn your focus to Him.
Father God, through the precious blood of Your son, Jesus Christ, and His resurrection and ascension to join You, we have the same promise to be with You. You’ve given us the Holy Spirit to help us know You in this life and endure its troubles. We have hope because of You. Praises to Your name, Jesus Christ! You are worthy of all praise!
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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