The Ascension: Acts 1:9-11
“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. 10) And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11) 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 ‭1‬:‭9‬-‭11‬
There is no way to measure the impact of the ascension on the disciples. As He finished His final words which pointed to the coming work of the Holy Spirit, He was lifted up before their very eyes into heaven while they were intently watching. This was a literal, visible and actual event. They were eye witnesses. They watched it happen. The ascension was meant to cement several truths in their minds.
First, the ascension validated His resurrection. All of them saw the resurrected Christ, but non of the actually witnessed the event. It was accomplished in the solitude of the sealed tomb. By contrast, the ascension happened before their very eyes in broad daylight. All doubt was removed.
Second, the ascension proved that His work on earth was done. Human redemption was complete. The debt of human sin was paid in full once and for all time. His death and burial satisfied the Wrath and Justice of God. Nothing can be added to His work on the cross to earn or merit salvation. It is a free gift based on faith in the grace of God.
Third, the ascension indicated that His new work in heaven was beginning. He was entering into the office of intercessor at the right hand of God. Romans 8:27-28; Hebrews 4:14-16 and 7:25 all speak of His office as intercessor on our behalf at the right hand of God. He is to be credited for the good and glorious things that happen in our lives.
Forth, the two men in white clothing illustrate that we are not alone during our sojourn on earth. God has heavenly agents that help carry out His will and plans here on earth. Hebrews 1:14 states that they render secret service to those who will inherit salvation.
Finally, the promise of His return underlines the fact that Jesus is coming again! This is a foundational truth taught throughout the whole New Testament. Just as He was taken up into a cloud into heaven, so He is going to return on the clouds of heaven. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
The resurrection, the ascension and the promise of the Holy Spirit were the three main points to Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. (See Acts 1:22-36) Witnessing the ascension accomplished something profound in these men. It punctuated, validated and cemented everything about the life, ministry and gospel of Jesus Christ. They lived and died knowing the reality of heaven and the love and acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global