May 30, 2019

He Left Them

Luke 24:50-53

While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

—  Luke 24:51

Today we celebrate Ascension Day, the day that marks Jesus’ return to heaven.

For several weeks after rising from the dead, Jesus appeared to his disciples, taught them, and convinced them that he was really alive. His followers rejoiced. They also wrestled with their doubts (see Matthew 28:17; John 20:27) and tried to understand what it all meant.

Then, suddenly, the moment Jesus had prepared them for arrived. He had spoken many times of his return to the Father. Now, we’re told, he “led them” to witness his ascension. He blessed them. And “while he was blessing them, he left . . . and was taken up into heaven.”

When people leave us suddenly, we’re often shocked, disappointed, or even hurt. Though it seems the disciples felt some of these emotions (see John 16:19-20; Acts 1:10), their ultimate response is noteworthy: “they worshiped him,” and “with great joy” they praised God.

Jesus’ disciples had been well prepared for this moment. They learned that Jesus had led them well, and because he led them to this moment, it had to be for their good. They saw that even as he left them, their Lord continued to give his blessing.

Jesus has prepared us, too, to worship God and serve him while he is in heaven. On this Ascension Day, let us remember his leading and blessing as we wait for his return.

Ascended Lord, we praise you. Help us to see your leading and blessing as you rule in heaven. Let us serve with joy until you come again. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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