Matthew 28:20, Ephesians 1:20,22, Romans 8:28
The child looked at the card once again and saw something that he had never seen before. His dad had given them a card before he went off to deployment and he had read the message in the card. And the ending seem so heartless, so cruel. “I’m leaving for good. Love, Dad.”
How could he love him if he’s leaving for good? But he saw something he hadn’t seen before. Hidden in the background image on the card was another word. Look carefully, was the word your. See, dad had actually written not “I’m leaving for good,” but “I’m leaving for your good. Love, Dad.” It all made sense, now. His dad did love him, but he’s pointing to the fact that he was going away in order to defend the country and defend them as a family. It was ultimately for their good, to serve them. That’s why he left.
Now, that day when the disciples looked up into the sky and watched Jesus ascend into heaven, some of them must have been wondering why is he leaving? Why now? Jesus showed his power over sin and death itself, rising from the dead. And he gave us this instruction that we’re supposed to share the message that he is the Savior of the world, the Messiah, but he’s leaving us? To do this work by ourselves? Why is he leaving?
We, too, might wonder the same thing at times. God loves us, Jesus loves us. Why isn’t he here with me when I’m going through such trouble, such adversity in my own life? Well, just like that child who didn’t fully understand, Jesus reveals to us the truth. He isn’t leaving for good. In fact, Jesus told his disciples, before he ascended into heaven, he said this,
And surely I am with you always until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
He was telling them, even though they couldn’t see him with their own eyes, he was still with them, present with them. And even more, he was planning to return to bring them home, to be with him forever in heaven. But also this: Jesus was leaving for their good. In Ephesians it says this
God worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,… God also placed all things under his feet and made him head over everything for the church. (Ephesians 1:20,22)
You see, we recognize the purpose for which Jesus ascended into heaven. The goal is not to leave us behind. Ha ha! See you later. Now he goes into heaven in order to rule all things for our good for the church. And that’s us, isn’t it? We are the church, we’ve been baptized into the name of the triune God, we’ve been marked as God’s dear children, he loves us. That’s the reason Jesus goes into heaven to rule all things, whether good or evil, for our ultimate good. Reminds us of that passage in Romans Chapter eight that says,
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
What does that ultimate good that God has in mind for us? Well, it’s seeing us again in heaven. Bringing us ultimately home to be with him there forever. And so he rules all things, he’s looking out for us even as he has ascended into heaven. What a comfort that is for us, even now, Jesus ascends not to just leave us behind. But in order to rule all things and to assure us even now he’s with us to the very end of the age. Ultimately he’s coming to bring us home to be with him forever in heaven, Amen.