There are certainly things that happen in all our lives that are unexpected and that are not understood. Life, at times can be very cruel and very confusing. I have come to believe that every day I live could hold an unplanned and unexpected surprise. Like the day my wife walked into my office while I was using the computer and told me the doctor had just diagnosed her with cancer in her kidney. Or the day I am doing some cleanup work in the yard and decided that a tree was too close to my garage and needed to come down. The tree ended up on me and I was confined for about six months. We do not put those things on our calendar and plan for them. It is not difficult for me to look at life from my point of view and my plans , but then the unexpected happens. I plan for tomorrow, but I really do not know what tomorrow will hold. (James 4:13-15)

I wonder if the Apostles of Jesus felt that way. They had a dinner with Jesus, then left for the night, not knowing that He would be dead tomorrow. The unexpected. The one they had expected to re-establish the Davidic Kingdom and thus set them free from Roman rule, was being carried to a tomb wrapped in grave clothes. He was dead. They were confused. They locked themselves in a room, fearful that the same leaders that had killed Jesus would hunt them down and they would meet the same fate. So, desolate and fearful, they sat in that locked room.

Then, the unexpected happened. Sitting in their locked and secure hiding place, there He was. What they experienced was so far from what they had just seen on Golgotha that they could not comprehend it. He was there. He showed them His hands with scars from the nails, and His wounded side where a merciless Roman guard had thrust his sword. They were seeing evidence of the greatest miracle that has ever taken place; that of the resurrection. Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe that Jesus is really “The Son of God”?

This group of Apostles and Jesus were together for the next 40 days. It was an on and off again relationship; He would appear, then He would disappear. It is rather difficult for us as humans to wrap our mind around the divine. We as humans do some miraculous things but we have not yet created a world and its universe, we have not yet created life and are still searching for the origins of life, as well as what holds our universe together. In our fast moving, technological world that we live in today, we must leave room for God and the miraculous.

At the end of this forty-day period, after the resurrection of Jesus, He led the Apostles out of the city of Jerusalem up to the Mount of Olives. He was conversing with them, and then the miraculous happened again. “…He was lifted up, while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently up into the sky, while He was departing, behold two men in white clothing stood before them, and they 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)

I’m trying to be honest with myself in attempting to grasp what has happened. I watched this man die via crucifixion. I observed two men wrap him in a linen sheet and carry him to a tomb. I watched as the Romans sealed the tomb. I’m in a locked room, fearful of what may happen, when suddenly, the man I watched die and be buried is standing in the very room where I am. Then, forty days later, as I stand on a hilltop talking with Him, all of a sudden He denies the very law of gravity and begins to ascend into heaven. Then two angels come and tell me, not to be fearful because this same Jesus will come back again.

I ask you two questions: the first is, “do you believe that Jesus is The Son of God,” and the second is, “do you believe what the angels said, that this same Jesus will come again”?

The resurrection is indeed a miracle. In our world, dead people stay dead. Then, the ascension is also a miracle. It is not often that you see people ascend up into heaven. I’m afraid that we get so caught up in planning and arranging life that these events get placed in a drawer someplace and are seldom, if ever, thought about. But, your day could change in a hurry, if what the angels told the amazed Apostles that “this same Jesus…shall return in like manner”. I need to put that on my calendar, so when it happens I am not still on the mountain looking up into the sky.

John Stott, in his commentary on the book of Acts asks, “why did Jesus ascend publicly”? This could have been a secret event, hidden from public view. Stott answers his own question by saying that His leaving was a public event, and his return will be a public event. In other words, at some point in the future, this “Son of God” who was born of a virgin, crucified publicly before a mocking crowd, had his life returned secretly by the Father in what we call the resurrection, and ascended back into heaven as his Apostles looked on in amazement, will return again publicly before the entire mocking world.

Now that is an event that I need to put on my calendar so I do not miss it, except no one knows when it will happen! He gave us some indication of when this event will happen in Mathew 24, but He did not give us a date. So, I keep it in mind as one of those unplanned events that could happen at any time. I do not want to miss it. I did not know that my wife would have cancer, I did not know a tree would fall on me, and I do not know when Jesus will return. There are some events in life I cannot plan on, but that I must be ready for when they do happen.

Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that He ascended into heaven? Do you believe He will return as the angels said? Are you ready for Him to return and will He take you back with Him?

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