Acts 1:11 – ‘Men of Galilee,’they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’
When Elijah went into heaven, his understudy Elisha was told that if he saw his master ascend he would gain a double portion of his anointing. Something similar is going on here, I believe. The ascension of Jesus, as seen by the apostles, will result in an unprecedented outpouring of the Spirit. Indeed, Jesus says it is better that I go (John 16:7) so that he can send the Holy Spirit.
The fact that ‘this Jesus’ who ascended in a cloud will likewise, one day, return on the clouds, ought to breed tremendous confidence. The return of Christ the King is the stuff of hymns and anthems. What it should never do, as the two men infer, is encourage spiritual star gazing. The time, however long, between the ascension and the parousia (the second coming), should instead be a spur to mission: a time to engage and not withdraw – a time, as Jesus said, to preach the gospel to all nations in the power of the Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, keep me from idle speculation and set me aflame with your love for the world. In Jesus name. Amen.