Jesus Has Left Us--Time to Celebrate?
Scripture Reading — Luke 24:50-53
He ... was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned ... with great joy. Luke 24:51-52 —
I can recall a few occasions at the bank when fellow employees were fired or laid off or quit—and those of us who remained didn’t mind seeing them go. Some were difficult to get along with or to have as a manager or supervisor; some had not done their share of the work; some had taken credit for work that other employees had done. We weren’t terribly sad that we no longer had to work with them.
At the end of Luke’s gospel account is a different situation. When Jesus left his followers and was taken into heaven, they were filled with joy—but not because they were glad to be rid of him. About forty days earlier, when Jesus had been taken from them in the wee hours of the night, his departure had left them devastated, depressed, and full of doubt and fear. And now Jesus was taken from them again—and yet they celebrated!
Here’s the difference: when Jesus ascended to heaven, his followers saw that his claim to be God’s Son was indeed true and that he was going to take his place at the right hand of God to rule as the King of glory over all things in heaven and on earth.
Jesus left this earth, but he is now with us in the person of the Holy Spirit of God. And someday he will return to claim all who believe in him, and he will gather them to himself. What joy there will be on that day!
Ascended Lord Jesus, we worship you with joy this Sunday, as our heavenly ruler, the Lord of lords and King of kings. Guide us by your Spirit each day, we pray. Amen.