He ascended into Heaven


The Ascension

After Jesus had been raised from the dead on Easter Day he appeared to all his Apostles at different times and in different places for 40 days.  On the fortieth day, which was a Thursday, he appeared to his Apostles for the last time, and because it was the last time he said goodbye to them in a way he had never done before.

If you are away from home staying with friends or relations and are just going out for a walk, you probably stop at the door of the house and call out, “Bye for now – see you in about an hour”.  But if it’s the last day of your visit and you’re going back home again, you don’t go off like that.  Instead, your friends come to the station with you and stand on the platform and wave as the train pulls out.

The Mount of Olives

And so when Jesus went back to his home in Heaven from which he had come all those years before, he didn’t quietly leave his Apostles as he had done so many times since Easter.  Instead he led them through the streets of Jerusalem, out of the city gate, past the Garden of Gethsemane and up the Mount of Olives.  There, after telling them to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit of God came into their souls, Jesus lifted up his hands, still bearing the marks of the nails, and blessed them.  Then, with his hands still raised in blessing, he went up from the Mount of Olives towards the sky and a cloud of light came round him which hid him from their sight.  The Apostles kept their eyes fixed on the cloud, hoping to see him again, but when the cloud had gone the sky was empty.

Almost at once they saw two angels who, in order that the Apostles should really understand that this was Jesus’ last appearance, said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (NRSV, Acts 1:11).

So Jesus returned to God the Father and to his home in Heaven.

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