Glorious coming of our LordActs 1:6-11
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “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
Book of Acts is all about design and purpose. When God intends something, it is fully realized. God intended to perform great things when He sent the Holy Spirit. His creation serves a purpose. The church's accountability is implied by the purpose. This is His purpose, and this is our mission. Acts 1:6-11 becomes a place where God combines these two elements: design and plan. God sends us the Holy Spirit for us to attain goals in our life. When we combine these two elements, power and plan, as we see in the early church as recorded in the Book of Acts, we see a tremendous development of God's kingdom both locally and worldwide.
In verse 6, The disciples ask Jesus a final question before His ascension. Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? This was a question that had been raised before, but it was especially pertinent today. They were well aware that Jesus had established the New Covenant (Luke 22:20). They also knew that the restoration of the kingdom to Israel was part of the New Covenant. They had reason to be concerned about the rest of the New Covenant fulfillment. In the next lines, Jesus' response suggests that He did not scold or even correct them for their query. He just informed them that they didn't need to know the answer. The disciples were aware of the numerous Old Testament prophesies portraying Israel's spiritual and national regeneration. The disciples probably thought that the spiritual rebirth seemed certain, so the nation would also come. Jesus’ final teaching and final promise before His ascension are there in Verses 7 and 8. It is not for you to know: Jesus warned the disciples against inquiring into aspects of the timing of God’s kingdom because those things belong to God the Father alone. But you shall receive power: If the national kingdom they wanted would be delayed, the power they needed would not. They would soon receive power with the coming of the Holy Spirit. And you shall be witnesses to Me: The natural result of receiving this promised power would be that they would become witnesses of Jesus, all over the earth. In Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth: The progress of the spread of the gospel message from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and then to the end of the earth becomes the outline of Acts.
Jesus ascends into heaven in verses 9 to 11. Jesus was taken up from them as He blessed them, and He was received by a cloud out of their sight. They continued to look up as He slowly vanished into the sky, enveloped by a cloud. While they watched, He was taken up: Jesus' decision to leave His followers in this manner was important. Jesus wanted His people to realize that by ascending in this manner, He was gone for good, in contrast to the way He appeared and reappeared throughout the 40 days following His resurrection. Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? The two men (presumable angels) encouraged the disciples to focus on what was important (obedience to Jesus' instruction to return to Jerusalem), not on where and how Jesus had gone. They stood staring up towards heaven after Jesus commanded them to travel to the ends of the world. This same Jesus will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven: This is a fantastic sentence. It reminds us that the Jesus who went to heaven and is sitting at God the Father's right side is the same Jesus who appeared in the Gospels. He is the same Jesus of love, grace, kindness, knowledge, and compassion who left us, and He will return exactly as He left us.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the Word and the truth that it contains. Thank You for the promises and prophecies that You have graciously given to us in Your Word. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we await any day Rapture of the Church, when Jesus will take us up to heaven, to await this glorious return to earth. To Him be all honor, and glory, and strength, and majesty, forever and ever. Amen
Thought for the Day
Just like he had done twice before, Jesus had given us a mission. We must be His witnesses, preaching about Him, His resurrection, and the reality that only through Him can repentance and forgiveness be found. We must look forward to His glorious return, as He has promised.
Sneha Ann Baji
Peroorkada Ebenezer Mar Thoma Church
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church