“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:10-11
Why did the angels say, “this same Jesus.” I believe they wanted to erase any semblance of confusion that the disciples may have. After all, much had taken place…
Palm Sunday: Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. This was the only time that Jesus permitted the people to celebrate who He truly was; the One sent by God. (“And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” Matt. 21:9) He allowed the people to declare Him King and Savior!
Holy Week or Passion Week: The week between the crowds crying Hosanna, saves us, and Good Friday when the crowd is crying crucify Him. Although these events were foretold to them, fear caused the disciples to disassociate with Him. (“And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31; “Then said Jesus unto them, ‘All of you will be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.’” Matt. 26:31)
Good Friday: The day that Jesus paid the ultimate price for mankind’s sins (“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21) The day Jesus demonstrated the greatest love ever displayed on the face of this earth. (“Greater love has no one than this, than someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13)
Resurrection Sunday: The day Jesus rose from the dead. (“He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matt. 28:6) The day Jesus secured victory for us over sin, death, hell and the grave. (“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.’” Matt. 28:18)
Lastly, after spending time with Jesus following His resurrection, the disciples are once again given instructions before He leaves them. (“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt. 28:19-20)
After all these events, the disciples watch as Jesus ascends into the clouds and two angels declare “this same Jesus” will come back again just as He left. The angels were telling the disciples, and us, where to center our hope and expectation. Expect this same Jesus who has all power to return in power. Expect this same Jesus that allowed His body to be lashed until the skin was shredded so that He could secure our healing. Expect this same Jesus that was despised, rejected and tormented so that we would have peace. Expect this same Jesus that endured the suffering, shame and death of the cross so that we might be reconciled to the Father. This will be the same Jesus that will return in power and glory to receive His own.
Today, this same Jesus will guide us, strengthen us, heal us, help us, and supply our needs. Jesus paid a great price for our healing and for our peace, and He paid an even greater price for our redemption. Expect this same Jesus, to deliver us to the utmost. He is King and Savior!