What comes next?
We can often feel anxious and confused when we don’t know what happens next in our lives. If we have gone way past our own understanding and begin breaking new territory, it can leave us feeling lost.
The disciples must have felt this way when Jesus ascended into heaven. Some of them held onto there own ideas of when Christ would restore Israel and clearly wanted it then. Jesus knew the wonderful things which were to follow, but they had no clue what would happen next.
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:6-11
Jesus had stepped down from heaven to earth and walked among us. He walked to the the place of His death, literally carrying the burden of the cross. After His death, He walked out of the tomb and again performed miracles as He walked among them. Finally, the disciples followed Jesus to the mountain where He would take His final step back into heaven.
I can imagine the sense of loss and confusion felt by the disciples. Knowing who Jesus was and seeing Him defeat death, they might have thought He would stay forever. Instead He gave them some final instructions and was taken up into heaven. They were left staring into blue sky and clouds, wondering what comes next.
They had already been told this day would come and it would be to our advantage.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. – John 16:7-11
Holy Spirit would come after Jesus went back to heaven and He is now our comforter and guide.
Acts 1:11 shows an angel asking a very relevant question. “… why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Jesus will step back down from heaven to Earth one day and until then we are to continue walking in the way He instructed. Going into all the world and making disciples of all nations. Knowing that we are encouraged, comforted and empowered by the person of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t stand gazing into heaven wondering what comes next. Instead follow the instructions Jesus gave until His sure return, in the power you have been given.