LD 18: Christ Ascended into Heaven
by Rev J. Kortering
Acts 1:9, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
It began in Bethlehem, continued through His ministry as recorded in the gospel narratives, and in a certain sense ended in His crucifixion and resurrection from the dead. During the forty days of His post-resurrection ministry, there was very little interaction with His disciples, at least as recorded in Scripture. He was on earth, but where was He? We have a brief description in Acts 1:3, “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” He ministered to them through His appearances and through His conversation as He explained to them His kingdom. Little was understood then, for they needed the Spirit to help them.
But now, His ascension into heaven had taken place. The passage quoted above states it majestically and yet simply, “He was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” Two things are noteworthy.
First, a cloud received Him out of their sight. That cloud is referenced frequently in Scripture; in the old covenant it was the cloud that led Israel through the wilderness, the Shekinah. It is also called, “the glory of the Lord” for it shone in fiery power during the night hours. It assumed this form when Jesus was born, “the glory of the Lord shone round about them”, the night sky radiated with such light. Now it took on the form of the cloud, it was not a natural cloud; it was God’s cloud which represented God’s presence. In His ascension, it was as if God’s arms enfolded His Son as He removed Him from the earth and took Him to heaven.
Second, take note of the appearance of the angels to the disciples. Acts 1:11b “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Jesus left the earth, His earthly ministry was finished. He departed to the place called heaven.
We do not cry, we rejoice. Do you understand why? Would you rather have Jesus here or in heaven?
Originally posted here.