Easter happened just a couple weeks ago. The day we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead and made it possible for us to go to heaven. The World has a Savior! I am still whooping and hollering! there is no better news!
After The Resurrection
We don’t often think about the time Jesus spent with His followers when He vacated the grave and before He left for heaven.
I imagine how it must have been. The absolute joy and even relief that Jesus walked with them again must have been over the top. There was time for lunch in Emmaus, time for breakfast on another day on the beach in Galilee, and it appears that a few more meals were consumed in the forty days He spent lingering with His friends.
And there was time for restoring Peter back to grace after his agonizing denials of Jesus that terrible night.
Last Minute Instructions
Then came the day (was it a balmy, sunny day with a slight breeze to cool their brows?) when Jesus and His followers wandered to the fields at the top of the Mount of Olives. Where I am sure Jesus must have gazed once more at the beautiful City of God—Jerusalem. I imagine the sadness in His gaze. He had just been hugely rejected. He’d wept weeks ago over this City. And now He would be leaving it, knowing the future would be dismal.
Did any of His disciples see His wistfulness? Or wonder at it?
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6b).
Before embarking on a journey, most travelers usually leave last minute instructions.
Maybe Jesus pulled His gaze from Jerusalem to look at each face around Him. Like you do when you don’t want to forget any of the features of their faces before you go. Did any of them know He was about to depart?
And if they did, what were they feeling? I don’t think grief would be on the list. They had already been through the worst and come out the other side. He is Risen! But could there have been the sadness of the kind of parting which knows that life has triumphed, and reunion is ahead?
“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).
At this, Jesus was taken up before their very eyes and they watched Him rise in the air until a cloud hid Him from them.
What was that like?
Did they have to shade their eyes from the sun? Did Jesus shine brighter and brighter as He rose into the sky? Did rays squirt out from the clouds as He disappeared inside it?
Had they even had time to say goodbye?
I would have been mesmerized. I think they must have been, too. The Scripture tells us they kept squinting into the sky until suddenly two men, dressed in white, stood next to them. How unnerving! Did the disciples jump in surprise?
“Men of Galilee.”
(They must have meant women, too!)
“Why do you stand here looking into the sky? 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).
And whoosh! Were they gone?
Jesus must have sent them straight down to His beloved disciples just as He disappeared from sight. He cared for them at all times. And for us.
He sent hope. And a future.