(This is part ten of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)
After Jesus rose from the dead…
“He ascended into heaven.” (Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9)
So what exactly does this tell us, if anything, about Jesus or Christianity? Well, obviously this is in the creed for a reason (although I suspect it’s simply to link to the next statement). Let’s try to unpack this phrase though. I think it helps to start by looking in Acts 1, where all this took place:
After [Jesus] said this, he was taken up before [the disciples] very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? (Acts 1:9-11)
I think that, while we could try to look deeply at the “cloud” and what it might mean symbolically or why the cloud hid Him, that would be a waste of time. I think there are two important things that come from this text.
First, is the fact that Jesus ascended. He didn’t descend, he didn’t disappear, he didn’t explode, he didn’t leave this earth any of the other ways that we could think of; he ascended. Jesus rose. Although this isn’t the most important detail of Christianity, I think it’s worth remembering that Jesus ascended. There’s a certain sense of glory, of honor being bestowed upon the Son in this moment. After walking humbly on this earth and dying a shameful death, Jesus is returning back to Heaven.
Second, how often do we just stand around looking up into the clouds? How often do I spend all my time reading my Bible, praying, reading Christian books (all good, don’t get me wrong) but not spend any time actually doing any of the stuff I’m reading about or learning? I’ll be the first to say that works don’t get you into Heaven, but Ephesians 2:10 does teach that we are saved so that we may do good works.
Here’s a challenge (as much for me as for you): How about this week, we spend some time actually doing? Instead of walking around with our heads in the clouds, we take some time to look around us and see what God is inviting us to do for Him?