“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”” (Acts 1:10–11, NIV84)
On Easter morning, angels stood at the tomb asking the women why they were seeking the living among the dead. On the day of Jesus’ ascension, humorously to me, two angels ask Jesus’ disciples, “why do you stand here looking into the sky?” Can you picture this event? The fact that Jesus had risen from the dead is beginning to wear off. It has been 40 days now. The disciples are used to Jesus popping in and out to direct and to teach them about the kingdom of God. But on the day of Jesus’ ascension, they watch Him rise into the clouds and then He is no more. There they are staring up into the sky in shock. They don’t know what else to do. In their frozen state they are wondering what they are going to do now. Jesus has made it clear that He is going back to the Father. Jesus’ days of popping into the lives of the disciples is now over. So they stare into the heavens waiting and wondering, until two angels awaken them and remind them that there is work to be done. They assure the disciples that Jesus will return just as He promised. But until then, they need to go back to Jerusalem, for the promised Holy Spirit will soon come upon them and the answer to the question of what to do next will soon become clear.
There are times in our Christian lives when God so profoundly touches us that we are frozen in the moment. Like Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration, we don’t want the experience to end. But end it must. These experiences are not ends in themselves. They are means to an end. They are what drive us to boldly live out our Christian lives. We need to stop staring up into the sky. We need to get down from the mountain top because there is work to be done. The Lord provided the amazing experiences as motivation to go do the work of His kingdom. There is a world out there that needs to hear the Gospel. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we must confidently and boldly proclaim God’s Word of truth to a world dying to hear it.
Don’t worry! Jesus is coming back! The mountain top experiences are not over. Just as He ascended into heaven, He is going to return so that He can take us to heaven to be with Him forever. Let that certainty be enough to motivate you to keep fighting the fight.