He Lives to Give Me Eager Expectation of Glory – Week of May 22, 2023
When [Jesus] had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
“I don’t want them to leave”. This is what my daughter says every time that the grandparents come to visit. Except she starts saying it before they arrive. Before the RV even rolls into the driveway, she’s already tearing up knowing that they will have to leave!
When Jesus left the disciples and went up into heaven, it would make sense that they would feel some sadness, a feeling of “homesickness”, that their friend and Savior was leaving them. But the words say that they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy”. Joy is more than just “feeling happy”. Joy also means the feeling of comfort and peace that God kept his promise to save us from our sins. The disciples went to Jerusalem, eager to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and to continue their work on earth for Jesus.
Some people assume that Christians are happy all the time. But God does not promise that we will only experience joy and happiness on this earth. In fact, he tells us the opposite—this world is filled with sins and hate, the wrong that we do and the wrong that others do to us. We cannot rid the world of this problem. No amount of “be kind” sweatshirts and “be a nice human” bumper stickers will rid us and the world of this problem.
The good news is, we do not have to fix this, because Jesus already did. Jesus came down as a baby and lived a perfect life in our filthy, sinful world. He took our filthy, sinful thoughts and actions and put them on himself when he died on the cross. He willingly substituted his life for ours, so that we are now made perfect in him.
And now we wait with eagerness and joy that we will be in heaven after this life. Like the disciples, we joyfully continue the work that Jesus wants to do here in our earthly jobs and vocations. We use the gifts that he has given us to bring more people to His Word, the Bible, and ultimately to see him in heaven. We wait for his return with joy and eagerness!
Holy Spirit, joy divine, cheer this saddened heart of mine;
Fill me with your heavenly peace, let it grow and still increase. Amen.
Christian Worship 21 – 593:3
A Question to Consider:
What brings you joy here in this world? How does that feeling of joy compare with the joy you feel knowing that Jesus took your sins away and promises the gift of heaven?