After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)
As the book of Mark closes, we find Jesus returning to heaven to take His place as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. This is the event people refer to as the “ascension.”
Perhaps you have seen paintings of the ascension, with Jesus ascending into heaven, His hands held to each side and His feet crossed over one another. We don’t really know exactly how it looked.
It was surely spectacular. In fact, in the book of Acts, we find this account: They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “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 1:10-11)
The gospels tell us the disciples worshipped Jesus after His ascended and went back to the city of Jerusalem. Ten days later the church arrived on earth.
A lot has happened since the event described in today’s passage. Two thousand years of church history has passed, millions of people have chosen Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and the kingdom has reached around the earth.
But the statement by the two dressed in white has yet to be fulfilled. Jesus is coming back. When I was a kid I learned a little chorus that said: “Coming again…coming again. Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening and maybe soon. Coming again…coming again. O what a wonderful day it will be. Jesus is coming again.”
And He will come, in the same way He went. “When and where” are the questions people have been trying to answer since His leaving. But these don’t trouble me in the least. You see, He is already reigning next to His Father, and He is present in us through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Whether we die and come into His presence, or He comes to us at present, is not important. What is important is His place over all creation and His declaration of victory over sin and death.
One day He’s coming. We will either meet Him here or come with Him from there.
The goal is to be ready.
Dear God, help me prepare for His coming. In Jesus’ name, Amen.