Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Glory To His Name"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 16:19 – So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. (NKJV)
One of our daughters lives in the state of Michigan, USA, some 800 km from where we live. For many years, we went there twice a year, in the spring and in the autumn. Going there and coming back, we always went about halfway, stayed overnight, and then, completed our journey. One year, after our overnight stay, about halfway on the way home, we saw a large number of buggies driven by Old Order Mennonites who live in that area, and we wondered where they were all going on a weekday. Then, we came to a church with the parking area full of horses and buggies tethered to posts. The people were obviously in church. We wondered what they were doing there — a funeral, perhaps, or a wedding? Then it dawned on us: it was Thursday, Ascension Day. We were ashamed and felt bad because we had not thought of it at all. Such an important day in the Christian calendar, and we forgot it.
Even though the calendar in my office does not mention it, my diary says that Ascension Day is on May the 13th this year. It is a Christian holy day to which not much attention is given here in North America. Most calendars don't even make mention of it. However, in most of Europe, it is an actual holiday, a day off from work, and some churches still have worship services on that day. In many places, though, it has become just a long, long weekend, and the real reason for the holiday is observed by only a few. It is like so many Christian holy days now: just another day off.
There are quite a number of stories about Jesus and His followers after His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. He was seen by many people in different locations and at different times. He explained to His disciples what His mission was all about, and He gave the Great Commission to go out and spread the good news, even to the ends of the earth. When the time came for Jesus to leave this earth and to return to His Father in heaven, He said:
Luke 24:48-51 – "And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. (NKJV)
I am sure that they were not sad anymore, like they were when Jesus was buried in the tomb. They remembered His words and His deeds and the promise of the Holy Spirit, Who was to help them in their mandate to spread the gospel.
My wife and I were so upset that we did not remember that important event which happened so many years ago. We won't forget it this year. All you faithful readers, do remember. Please don't forget!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You that Jesus came to earth, that He taught, healed, and comforted, and that He is with us now. We thank You in His holy name. Amen.