Where’s Jesus, and why are his disciples happy about it?

And Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God. – Luke 24:50-53

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Sky, Trees, Flags and Texas Bluebonnets | Willow City Loop | April 2019

Jesus is leaving his disciples and will be taken up into heaven. I notice that the disciples are joyful at Jesus’ departure. That is truly remarkable. He will no longer be with them. I’m sure they will miss him – much as I might miss a close friend. But that seems not to be the posture of their hearts at this time.

Perhaps that is because they recognize that Jesus is finally receiving the honor and glory rightfully due to him. He has suffered long enough. He has endured the slowness of even his own disciples to believe. He has had to put up with the willful resentment and rejection of the Jewish leaders. Now he is ascending to the highest heights. He is now glorified. He will be at the right hand of God. Angels will praise him. The saints and elders and living creatures (cf Revelation 5:6-14 below) adore him and give him all honor and glory.

Speaking of angels, recall their response to the disciples as Luke also records in Acts 1. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky?” For them, this is nothing new. They had spent 33 years wondering about the mystery of Jesus’ earthly humility and humiliation. Things had been upside down for 33 years. Now things are as they should be. Jesus is receiving the honor he deserves. The angels wonder why this is such a mystery to the disciples.

Mystery or justice restored: Jesus is now receiving the honor he deserves. It is well due him. The question for us is whether we are giving him the honor he deserves. What does that look like for you today?

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.  – Revelation 5:6-14

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