Acts 1 v 9 - 11

Just a couple of verses, but presenting the reader with some interesting challenges! Firstly, this short passage talks to us of Christ's ascension. Of the four Gospel writers, only Luke tells of this event, backing up his words in the last chapter of his Gospel with these words here. The ascension was an absolute necessity for two reasons: firstly, it was inevitable that Jesus returned to the glory which He once had and was now a fulfilled glory. Forty days had elapsed since His resurrection and He had appeared to many believers in that period, but this could not go on forever; there had to be a moment when Jesus said goodbye to His followers completely. Secondly, we should remind ourselves that in the time of Jesus everyone thought of the world as flat and heaven as a place above the sky. So, the ascension was to be vital to convey that sense to the disciples that Jesus had returned to His Father. This separation brought no sorrow, but great joy- Luke writing in Luke 24 v 52. The disciples now felt that Jesus would be with them forever!

Secondly, this passage brings us face to face with the second coming. All through His ministry Jesus had declared that this event will come to pass and now through the angelic beings it was made clear that Jesus would return. However, we must remind ourselves that we cannot speculate over when that will happen. In Paul's time, some of the men at Thessalonica had given up their jobs in order to live on the top of a mountain to wait for Christ's return and Paul had reprimanded them over their actions (for further research read 2 Thessalonians 1 v 7-2 v 12; 3 v 6-15).

Two thousand years later, we are to be very wary of those who seek to calculate the date of the return of the King! Also, the essential teaching of Christianity is that God has a plan for us and for the world. To me, the vital question is not so much, ''Does God exist?'' as ''Does the God who exists love me and is it prudent to trust Him with my life?''. In the big scale of things, we know that we are nearer Christ's return than we were yesterday! However, the Second Coming is not a matter for speculation and curiosity as much as a summons to make ourselves ready for that day when we meet Jesus, whether through our death or through His appearing on the clouds.

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