Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Festival of the Ascension of our Lord

Posted on May 21, 2020 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Acts 1:1-11 (NKJV)

1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 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.”


“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?”

“Why?” the angels ask. In our language “why” can mean one of two things: it can mean “what caused you to do this,” or “what do you hope to accomplish by doing this?” What caused the Apostles to gaze up into heaven is easy: what would any of us do if we saw someone float up into the sky until a cloud hid them? The angels are asking the second question, “what do you men hope to accomplish by gazing up into the sky?”

There are many things we do which, in terms of the buildup, are entirely understandable. But the wiser question is to ask what we will accomplish by our action. The Apostles know they have things to do. And those things are not going to happen by gazing at the sky. God grant us wisdom to ask ourselves “why” in the sense of “what will this accomplish?” May our words and actions be those that accomplish the work our Lord has given us to do.

Prayer: Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to have ascended into the heavens, so may we also in heart and mind thither ascend and with Him continually dwell; who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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