My Favorite Question

Acts 1:1-14

 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Water Lily | Mercer Arboretum | May 2023

When is the last time you’ve asked a silly question? Have you ever been asked a silly question? Do you have favorite responses to questions your children ask? My favorite answer to our children’s “Why?” questions was, “Because the sky is blue when the sun shines.” Our sons did not like that answer. I was saying, in effect, “Because that’s just the way it is.” I didn’t want to explain myself to them. I didn’t want to answer to them. Sometimes I should have obliged.

This passage has one of my favorite questions in the entire Bible. “Why do you stand there looking up into the sky?” I have an answer to this question! “Because we’ve never seen anything like this before in our lives!” The angels’ question is more telling than you might think. For 33 years the angels have seen things that they cannot comprehend. What is God doing? Why did he take on flesh? How is it possible that the Creator, the Son of God lets himself be treated so horrifically? These are the sort of things that into which angels long to look (1 Peter 1:10-12). For the angels mysterious and intriguing things have been happening for 33 years. Now things are returning to the way they should be. Christ is risen and reigning.

For the disciples this was no cheap trick. This wasn’t just a curiosity. This was a remarkable display of Jesus’ true glory and exaltation. His work as a man on earth was done. This was the visible display of the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. To at least some extent this would be difficult for them. He was being taken from them. Soon the Holy Spirit would be poured out–a gale-force wind would fan into flame the spread of the Gospel. But for now they are left staring into the sky.

As a result of Jesus’ ascension we no longer see him on earth. True. But we can take great comfort that Jesus is reigning with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is interceding for us (Romans 8:34).

Today is Ascension Day. Ascension Day occurs during the week rather than on Sunday. As a result, many people miss this feast and the great importance it has for the life of the believer. Remembering this day is of no apparent importance to the followers of Jesus. But perhaps I can ask a question of you: If Jesus is on the throne in heaven, is he also on the throne of your heart? Does his reign and rule bring comfort to you in times of difficulty? Do you need to celebrate that today?

1 comment
  1. Yes.
    And yes!
    I love that question and especially the awe and humility of being stunned by God and his might and majesty which presented the need for the question!
    I love this post!
    Thank you for it😄

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