Why are class reunions fun? Certainly part of it is seeing people whom you haven’t seen for a while, and seeing how they’ve changed! Without fail there’s a person or two whom you don’t recognize, because they just don’t look the way they used to look. It’s true—we tend to remember people the way they looked the last time we saw them.
So what’s the last “sight” that the disciples saw of Jesus? It happened like this.
After Jesus rose from his grave, he spent some time with his disciples, but not a lot. He would appear, teach, and talk for a while. And then he’d allow them to “be on their own” for several days. This happened for 40 days.
When those 40 days were over, Jesus took the disciples to the Mount of Olives just outside of Jerusalem. There “he lifted up his hands and blessed them.” What would the disciples see on those hands? Why, of course—the nail marks from the crucifixion.
Then while he was blessing them “he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.” Can you imagine? All of a sudden he just goes up into the sky! What power!
And notice, the account doesn’t say that he eventually got so far away that they couldn’t see him. Rather, the cloud covered him, so that—even though they could no longer see him with their eyes—he was still there.
Now remember, this was the last time the disciples would see Jesus, so this was the sight which would stick with them. Do you think it would help them?
Well, think of all the truths of which Jesus reminded them. By ascending up into the sky, Jesus reminded them that he is all-powerful, that he rules all things. The hands up, in blessing, reminded them that he is watching out for their good! He will always have their best interests in mind. The fact that the cloud covered him reminded them that he really was with them, always. And don’t forget the nail marks, the proof that the disciples’ sins were forgiven! Because of that, they would spend an eternity with Jesus in heaven. Do you think that all this would have helped the disciples as they faced the days ahead? Without doubt! And certainly that “sight” of Jesus lifts our spirits too.
But there’s one more point about Jesus’ ascension, a point which we’d hate to miss … that he is coming again!