After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
I would assume that most of us have had the experience of watching a jet airliner flying across the sky. Eventually, to our eyes anyway, it gets so small that we can’t see it anymore. It’s not really gone; we just can’t see it anymore.
So perhaps we would have expected that to happen to Jesus when he ascended into heaven, he’d get so “small” that his disciples couldn’t see him anymore. But, that’s not how he chose to do it. Instead, he chose to have a cloud come and cover him. The cloud hid him from their sight.
Was Jesus perhaps trying to remind his disciples that he hadn’t left them? After all, he had promised, “Surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:20). Perhaps being hidden by the cloud was a gentle reminder of that. “No, I’ve not left you. I’m just hidden from your eyes, so you can’t see me. But, I’m still here!”
Can you imagine how much that might have helped the disciples in the days ahead? When they were taken captive and held in prison, experiencing the various persecutions they faced, being rejected so often by so many. I’m guessing it might have felt lonely on many occasions. I can only imagine how this sight of Jesus—that the cloud covered him, merely hiding him from their eyes—might have helped. They weren’t alone. They were never alone! Jesus was always there, “behind the cloud,” with both his power and his love.
And, you’re never alone either. Oh, you can’t see him; he is hidden from you just as he was for the disciples. But his promise to you is just as powerful as it was for the disciples. He is with you always! And someday you will see him, realizing that he had never left you, never forsaken you.
Wow! What a sight!
O Savior, remind me that, tho’ you may be hidden from me now, you are with me always, to the very end of the age. Amen.