Verse of the Day Devotion. Acts 1:9
“And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” – Acts 1:9
As you can see from our focus verse, we will now be looking at the ascension of Jesus. We read in verse 6 that Jesus and the eleven apostles who were left gathered together. “And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6. First, there were only 11 apostles, for Judas had rejected Jesus and eventually killed himself, and they had not yet replaced him with Matthias. “And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:26. And as they were gathered, they then asked Jesus a question. “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
Jesus answered the question, but not in the way they had anticipated. “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8. The answer from the Lord was intended rather to instruct than to rebuke, contrary to what various commentators have assumed. He does not deny them the privilege of asking, but only the right to know the times or the seasons which the father, who alone possesses sovereign power, has appointed. The Son guards the royal prerogative, the divine reservation, the exclusive rights of the Father.
And while it was not given to the apostles to know the times of future events, the duty to act or work at the present time was assigned to them; they also received the assurance that they would be qualified for their work by the Holy Spirit, who would come upon them. And by this, they are called to a worldwide mission. The disciples were to be the true, restored Israel, fulfilling its mission to be a light in the world so that God’s salvation might reach to the very ends of the earth. We see in Isaiah the Father’s call to the Messiah. “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nation’s so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6. This was God’s call to the Messiah. He has done much toward this cause, but now He has called His disciples to continue the work, through the power of the Holy Spirit, after He is gone. In short, to speculate on times and dates is useless. The Lord’s return does not revolve around such speculation but around God’s own purposes, and those purposes embrace the salvation of the world. The surest route to the Parousia is the evangelization of the world.
Then, after He finished telling them these things, He ascended to heaven. “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9. What an amazing event, seeing Jesus ascend into Heaven must have been amazing. His job was completed and now the remaining work is in the hands of His followers; this means all followers from the time of His ascension to His return. Then, “as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10-11. They were still gazing toward heaven after the disappearance of the Lord, when suddenly two men stood by them. That these were unquestionably angels, appears from the following three facts: the suddenness of their appearance, for no one had seen them approach; their white and shining apparel, a visible representation of celestial purity and holiness; and lastly the tidings which they brought to the disciples, being a message sent from heaven to the earth. And they asked them why do they just stand there looking up? For He shall return in the same way He was taken up. He assured them He would return, but not when He would return.
The main message Jesus gave at this time was the call for the disciples to go and spread the news of the truth. And this, again, was not just for those then, but for all of us from then until His return. “You (we) are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus called us as follows, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. God called us to do this just prior to His ascension. Let us all go out there and make it happen until His return, and then go to be with Him forever.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.