Why Do You Stand Looking into Heaven?

Scriptures: Matthew 28:16-20 ; Mark 16:14-20 ; Luke 24:44-53 ; Acts 1:2-11 ; 2 Timothy 2:8-10
by Jacob Abshire on June 2, 2014

From the shore in Galilee, the disciples moved inward to the side of a mountain. Jesus opened their minds to the Scriptures, and doubt bowed its knee to courage. It was time for His departure and their commission.

The following is an account taken from Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20, Luke 24:44-53, and Acts 1:2-11. The following events have been placed in chronological order.

What a journey it had been for this small group of ordinary men! They were personally touched and intimately trained by the Lord of heaven and Creator of the cosmos. They walked alongside God. They ate and drank with the risen Christ. They sat at His feet and observed the Living Word. What a tremendous experience this must have been!

Eleven unlikely men bound together to an unlikely Lord—fishermen from Galilee and a servant from Nazareth. These men were gathered from their ordinary lives and discipled by an extraordinary God. Their journey together had only been three years, but it felt like a lifetime—particularly in the last 40 days.

These men would be God’s foundation builders, His apostles to the Church. He would use them to frame the truth and proclaim the news. He would start a kingdom with the keys they now possessed—the keys of the gospel.

For over four thousand years, God’s plan had been unfolding until making its climactic reach in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. He was the soon and coming King. And He had come.

But now, He must leave—not to abandon His apostles, not to desert His Church, not to withdraw His plan, not even to relinquish His rule. He would leave to rule from heaven as a spiritual King to a spiritual kingdom where His law would lead through men’s heart by the divine power of His Spirit.

His work was complete. But His plan to build had just begun.

Stretching out His hands, Jesus blessed the disciples. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

While saying these things, He was lifted up into heaven and gone.

Still in wonder, the disciples looked upward. Not a word was spoken. Their meditations were on Him, and rather than speak, they watched the sky.

Only wind moved.

“Men of Galilee,” two angels spoke, breaking the silence. The disciples turned to see them. Some looked back upward one last time and then quickly attended themselves to God’s messengers.

“Why do you stand looking into heaven?” they asked the disciples. “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

The disciples, probably with their minds in the heavens, came to their senses, responded with joy, and returned to Jerusalem as they were instructed. Of course, they were no longer ordinary fishermen as before. As Jesus had promised them, they were now fishers of men—mission driven and courage infused.

Similarly, all followers of Christ are commissioned to be witnesses to the world. We are all charged to proclaim God’s truth in order to make disciples. And yet, many of us are still looking up to the heavens as if something else is expected to happen.

My friends, Jesus has finished the work. The sins of the elect have been paid in full and now you are to go out, preach the gospel, and watch God make disciples for His Son.

What are you waiting to see? What is holding you back? Men of today, women of today, why are you still waiting? Go and make disciples.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

2 Timothy 2:8-10
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