And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.(Acts 1:9-11)
When Jesus was crucified on the cross the disciples knew Jesus was in the grave. The disciples may have lost hope, but it would only be for a few days. Can you imagine if Jesus would not have shown himself after His resurrection? How would people know He was the Messiah? Would the disciples still follow His teachings? Jesus needed to show himself after the resurrection so there was no doubt Jesus was the Messiah.
After Jesus had given them instructions in Acts 1:8. He was taken up out of their sight. I believe this was just as important as being seen after the resurrection. “Why?”, you may ask. I believe for the disciples sake(and ours) Jesus needed to be taken up into Heaven right before their eyes. When the disciples saw Jesus ascend into the sky and a cloud received Him, they knew right where Jesus would be.
If we think back to the Old Testament when the Hebrews were in the wilderness, we see God show himself as a cloud by day and fire by night. This is how the people knew the Lord was with them. Here in these verses we see Jesus caught up into a cloud. Jesus is with the Father waiting for the day when He can return.
After Jesus was taken up, the disciples were staring into the sky. Two men in white apparel stood next to them and told them Jesus would return in like manner. The disciples were to get to work. We cannot stare into heaven waiting for Him to come back. We need to be about His work. We do not want to be like the servant Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:14-30 that went and buried his talent and waited for the Master to return. The Lord has entrusted us to do His work. He wants us to go into all the world making disciples. Let us not be caught staring into Heaven waiting and doing nothing.
Jesus is returning in the same way He left. We should be inspired to do His work because we know where our Jesus is and that He can return at any time.
Think about the statement below that my college professor told us.
“Live like He is coming tonight, plan like it is 40 years down the road.”