Lesson for the Lord’s Day

And while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? Acts 1:10,11

A big house on the outskirts of town caught fire, and the crews of several fire trucks battled to try to save the building. As the smoke and flames shot out through the roof, people gathered on a nearby hillside overlooking the burning house. As they watched intently to see all that was happening, a man on a bicycle approached and noticed all the people gathered on the hillside. ‘Hey,’ he asked, ‘what’s everybody doing out here today?’ Most of the people ignored him. A few simply pointed to the burning house, and ignored him. His question seemed so unnecessary, given the circumstances. We might think the question the angels asked in today’s text was also unnecessary. But the angels had a reason for asking, and they had a message.

An incredible event had just occurred. The Lord Jesus, Who a few short weeks before had been crucified and had risen from the dead, had been teaching His disciples. They had important questions to ask, and He had important instructions to give. Suddenly, He rose into the air, higher and higher, until He disappeared. Amazed and stunned at this event, the disciples gazed at the last place where they could discern their Lord, as if wondering if He would reappear. And then the angels asked their question.

The angels worshipped the same Lord as those disciples. But no angel knows Him as Saviour, like we do. No angel has ever known the joy of passing from sinful darkness into Salvation’s light. No angel has experienced the new birth, or appreciated the goodness of God that led to repentance. The experiences of these disciples as Jesus’ companions were unknown to angels, and the fascination of these men with their Lord was a mystery to the heavenly beings. It is not surprising they would wonder why these disciples should gaze so intently at the sky. Do the angels question today as the Lord’s people gather to remember our Lord and gaze upon a loaf of bread and a cup of wine? We appreciate some things that angels cannot understand.

The angels had another reason to ask their question. They knew some things these disciples were not aware of, and they were anxious to pass along their message. They knew that Jesus was going to return some day. They also knew that these disciples were soon to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and had a great commission to fulfil. They were there to guide and encourage, and their words were a reminder to the disciples that the wonder of Jesus’ assention must be replaced with the preparation for service.

The angels’ question reminds us today of the unique position we occupy as redeemed worshippers, and as ambassadors for our Redeemer. – Jim MacIntosh

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