While [Jesus] was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. Luke 24:51
Homecoming is usually a happy occasion. It is that for college alumni returning to their alma mater, for family members reunited after an absence, for persons who completed their assignments and can come home again. A well-known song from the Civil war era expresses happiness at the thought of a soldier’s homecoming. A hearty welcome awaits him: “The church bell will peal with joy; the laurel [wreath] is ready now to grace his loyal brow.”
There was joy when the Son of God, having completed His work on earth, returned home in triumph. Jesus’ ascension, 40 days after His resurrection, marked His heavenly homecoming. Saint Paul wrote of it: “He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe” (Ephesians 4:10). He, the Maker of all things, now resumed His throne in heaven to rule the universe. Sitting at the Father’s right hand, He especially governs and protects the church, of which He is the Head.
But our Lord’s ascension was more than a homecoming. This event was to have a sequel. Before He left, He promised to return, saying: “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). That place, He explained, is His Father’s house of many rooms. On the mount of the ascension the angel repeated the promise: “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). That “same way” is not only a visible return, but also one in power and great glory. The Savior’s homecoming occasioned joy both in heaven and on earth. We are told that the disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). They continually praised God, both at the temple and in the Upper Room, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit. For us, too, the ascension is a festival of joy. We are happy over Jesus’ triumph and for His promise to come back to take us home.
PRAYER: Thank You, O Lord, for the home in which I now live. And thank You for the eternal home that has been prepared for me by my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)