COLUMN: And then Jesus was gone

Published 12:31 pm Monday, May 20, 2024

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By Matthew Sorenson
Guest Columnist

“And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9

The first day of a new job is both exciting and terrifying! I went through four years of college. Then they sent me to Nuclear Power School, a land based prototype and Submarine School and then they told me which submarine I was being sent to. Finally, after all of those years I arrived at my submarine. After lots of greetings and introductions I was given a long list of things that I needed to do next and left alone in my stateroom. Left alone with a long list of doubts and ideas competing for my attention. Excited to finally have the opportunity to use my training. Terrified that I would make a mistake.

Before Jesus ascends into the heavens to be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords he takes his disciples to a mountain in Galilee where he commissions them to carry on his work with the words, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) In verse 17 Matthew notes that some of his disciples doubted. Of course they did! Jesus had always been with them and now they would be working on their own. It was exciting and yet terrifying.

But Jesus offers those of us who work in his kingdom after his ascension two promises that are spectacular. First, he says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18) Be encouraged that the One who sends you to carry on his work in the kingdom has authority over everything. He is reigning as the King of kings and Lord of lords on your behalf and nothing escapes his attention. Second, Jesus promises, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The One who has all authority in heaven and on earth goes with you always. The devil will tell you that you’re alone and overwhelmed but it’s a lie. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Jesus’ promises transform the word “go” from one that could sound overwhelming and terrifying to one that is full of promise and adventure. Jesus doesn’t ascend to set us up but so that he can go with each of us as he sends us each to very different places. Jesus ascends so that he can continue the life-giving work he has only just begun during the thirty some years he was on earth. Rejoice that he has ascended to reign with you for eternity!