While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
When Jesus ascended, those who witnessed Him being “carried up into heaven” responded with worship. They knew, as we know, that worship is due to God alone. In this final moment of departure, the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle must have all come together as they beheld Christ in His glorified body, ascending to the Father, leading them to rejoice. Perhaps their reaction calls to mind that of the leper in Luke 17:11-18, who, when he had been healed, returned to Jesus, fell at His feet, and gave thanks.
But the response of these believers wasn’t limited to worship in the moment. They also “returned to Jerusalem with great joy,” where they continued thanking God for what He had done and adoring Him for the wonder of Jesus. They were marked, then, by worship and joy—and by obedience. Jesus had told them, “Behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). And that’s exactly what they did.
Christ is the object of all our worship. He is the source of all our joy. He is the one who deserves all our obedience. He is the focus of all our praise. And we are accepted in Him. These early disciples understood that. Do we? Our worship, joy, obedience, and praise are pleasing to God not because of anything we have done but in light of His gracious work within us. It is only by His enabling that we can ask for unwavering faith in the ascended Son of God—faith that moves us to worship Him and to follow His example in all we think, in all we say, and in all we do. If you are finding it hard to worship, to know joy, or to obey the Lord today, ask Him to fix your eyes of faith on your risen, ascended, reigning Savior. It is as you see the same Jesus those first disciples knew that you will be moved to worshipful joy and that your obedience will cease to be mere duty and become your delight.
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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.