Acts 1:9, Where Did Jesus Go?

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

//The doctrine of the Ascension is fascinating to me. Before we get to this verse in Acts, let’s review what the earlier Gospels have to say on the topic.

Mark tells us that some women went to the Tomb on Sunday and found it empty. They ran away afraid, and told no one. That is how the original Gospel ends (verses 16:9 through the end of the book are not original to the Gospel, and were added later). So where did he go?

Matthew tells us that Jesus was seen by several people after he resurrected, but makes it clear that he doesn’t go anywhere. Jesus says, in the last verse of the book, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Indeed, that is the promise the Jews held dear of their coming Messiah: that he would stay and rule the earth “forever” (meaning, as long as the age of God’s rule).

But Jesus did seem to go missing! So, Luke reasons, Jesus had to leave at some point. In typical fashion, Luke the historian cannot leave this as a mystery. He dates the departure of Jesus to 40 days after the resurrection, and presents a visible ascension to make it clear that Jesus is no longer a historical figure. Luke’s theology, remember, is that “the kingdom is neither here nor there, but within you.” So, Jesus is free to take his leave.

And from this writer we get our doctrine of ascension!

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