3 Lessons from the Story of Jesus Ascending into Heaven

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There have been seasons in my life where I have been left completely baffled by God’s timing. My questions have ranged from, “Why now?” to, “Why not now and for how long?” Likely, you’ve been there as well. Sometimes we’re ready to do big things for God or for our family and He calls us to wait. At other times, we might be dealing with family issues or an illness, but God calls us to move forward into a new arena when everything in us screams, “Not now, Lord!” 

Early this morning I was reading Acts 1, where Jesus ascended into heaven. I love how the two men in white (angels) ask, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?”(Acts 1:11). If I had seen Jesus ascend into heaven, I think I would stand gazing into the sky, wouldn’t you? But, the angels assure the disciples that Jesus will come back again. 

As I’ve been reflecting on Acts 1:4-11, I believe there are three practical lessons for us today.

Wait. Jesus told the disciples earlier that they were to wait in Jerusalem for the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4). At this point in their spiritual journeys, they didn’t have a clear understanding of the Spirit. They knew Jesus had promised that His spirit would come and dwell in them, but I don’t think they fully realized what that meant. I wonder what went through their heads when Jesus said, “in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). In their confusion, they ask Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Their hearts immediately went to political issues and Jesus overthrowing the Romans and setting up His earthly kingdom. 

In your life and mine, there will be seasons of confusion or skepticism. In those moments, Jesus’ invitation is the same. Wait. Lean in to Him and wait for the Holy Spirit to show you which way to go or whether or not something is from Him. 

Witness. Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit came into the disciples they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Friends, the plan hasn’t changed. You may be in the thick of decisions about career changes, retirement, family issues, or a host of other decisions. Jesus’ plan is still the same. Bear witness to His love and forgiveness. You are His plan for spreading the gospel. 

Watch. The men dressed in white reminded the disciples that Jesus would come again. Many are saying that we are in the end times. Certainly, the signs are all there, according to Matthew 24. However, whether Christ comes back tomorrow or in another 1,000 years, we are to be ready and alert. We are to be watching for His return and living as though it is an imminent possibility (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). 

Together, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to revive in our hearts an alertness. Let’s ask Him to keep us from endless distractions. Jesus ascended into Heaven where He rules and reigns with God the Father. Just as He ascended, we can trust His promise to return. There’s no need to fear His return. Simply keep your hearts focused on Him and do the next thing. Remember that we are to wait for Him, witness for Him, and watch with excitement for His return. Rest assured. He will come back.

Update on Our Father. I am now booking interviews and speaking engagements around the theme of my new Bible study, Our Father. Please pre-order your copy of the book. The Lord’s Prayer is a beautiful invitation from Jesus to go deeper into knowing the Father’s heart. 

This week on the Connected Mom Podcast we’re talking about the endless cycle of dieting in motherhood. We’ll be talking with special guest Laura Acuna, author of Still Becoming.

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