9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 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.
Jesus ascends into the heavens leaving the apostles gazing up at the sky. I wonder what they thought when the two men in white told that he will return one day in the same way they saw him go. The apostles thought that he would return soon. They would never have expected that we would be sitting here over two thousand years later still waiting for him to come back. It is for this reason that it took so long for anyone to realize that they had better record his words and his actions while those who knew him were still alive. It has made so much difference in the world. Without their foresight, we might never have known about Jesus and the gift of salvation that he earned for us. The apostles didn’t know it at the time, but this would be so important an event, that the world would one day count time from the birth of Jesus. They may have been a few years off, but time would no longer be dated from significant dates in a culture, such as the Romans who dated time from the birth of Romulus and Remus.
We are fortunate also, that they circulated the letters of Paul, Peter, John, James and others so that we would know about the beginnings of Christianity and how it would spread in the known world. Can you imagine being there on that day, not knowing, not understanding? Would you or I have continued to believe? Would we have stayed in Jerusalem waiting for the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised? Would we have understood what he meant when he promised to send an “Advocate” to help them understand all that Jesus had taught them? I would like to think that I would have had that kind of faith, but I am grateful for all those who came before, so that my faith could rest on theirs.
Loving God, you have given us so much to be thankful for. Not only did you send your Son, but you inspired those who knew him best to record his words and deeds so that we could come to know and follow him. Amen.