And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven." Acts 1:9-11 (Read 1-11)
Thursday, May 13, is Ascension Day, a Christian festival often forgotten by churches today. It is the day to remember Jesus' ascension into heaven and the fact that He now rules over and fills all things (Eph. 1:17-23) and will soon return to judge the living and the dead and establish His everlasting kingdom. Today, we consider the words of the angels to Jesus' disciples when Jesus was taken up into heaven.
This Word of God, which was spoken by angels to the disciples who had just witnessed Jesus' ascension into heaven, teaches us that Jesus Christ will return visibly in the clouds of glory on the Last Day. The Bible also says this in Revelation 1:7: "Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so. Amen."
As Jesus ascended into heaven, so He shall also return on the Last Day, the Day of Judgment. He will come again in clouds of glory. Every eye will see Him! His return will be no secret rapture -- both the believer and the unbeliever will see Him coming in glory!
But, are you ready for His return and judgment? Are you prepared to meet Him?
Those who do not trust in Him for salvation will wail in sorrow at His return because they stand condemned for not trusting in the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18; 2 Thess. 1:6-10). But those who do trust in Christ Jesus as their Savior -- believing that they have pardon for their sins and peace with God for the sake of Christ's innocent sufferings and death in their stead -- will rejoice at His return because He comes to take them to be with Him forever in the mansions of heaven (cf. Luke 21:27-28; Heb. 9:27-28; John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Do you acknowledge your sins and look to Christ and His cross for mercy and forgiveness? If not, the day of His return will be for you a day of sorrow and mourning as you face His eternal judgment and condemnation!
But, if you agree with God about your sins and trust in Christ and the atonement He made for the sins of the world when He died on the cross, that day will be a day of joy and gladness as you receive His mercy, His pardon, and life eternal in His glorious kingdom!
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, as You have ascended up into heaven to the right hand of God the Father, so come again and take us to be with You forever. Graciously keep us in the true faith so that, on that Day, we may greet You with joy and not with sorrow. Grant this to us for the sake of Your holy life and bitter sufferings and death upon the cross in our stead. Amen.
[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture quoted from 21st Century King James Version (KJ21) Copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]