Ready | Devotion #5: Why?
Ryan Story | Student Pastor
About ten years ago, I was working at Stepanski Early Childhood Center in Waterford. At one point in my life, I had dreams and aspirations to be a pre-school teacher, so I went to school for my Early Child Development Degree and got an internship that led to a part-time job at S.E.C. I am pretty sure that the janitor and I were the only men that worked at that building, so needless to say, I was super popular with all the kids. While I had only two classes that I primarily helped with, recess time was a free for all. During recess kids wanted me to play with them. Kids in the sandbox would ask me to play, kids on the swings would ask me to push, kids running around would want to play tag (this was many pounds ago), and kids on the play structures would want me to watch them. Recess that was normally super fun became exhausting! Trying to be there for every single kid was hard, and I did my best every day we went out, but I was spent at the end of the day.
I have been asked from students, “if Jesus came back from the grave, why did he leave to go back to Heaven?” That is such an amazing question, on so many levels. Jesus defeated death, Hell, and the grave because He died on a cross. He died for the world that crucified Him. Three days after His death, Jesus rose in victory, proving that no grave could hold him. Jesus’ victory was sure, and yet He stayed around. Sure, we could say Jesus wanted to see His mother, Peter, James, or Thomas before He left. Not only does He see them, but He also teaches some amazing lessons, and just stays on earth. Jesus stayed on earth for forty days after His resurrection to show that He was alive, but then He decided to leave.
In Acts chapter one, Jesus and His followers have gathered around, and one asked when Jesus was going to restore Israel. Jesus responded and then made one of the most amazing promises in the Bible. In verse 8 He says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Then Jesus just leaves. To me, this is the craziest mic drop moment in the Bible. No evidence of Jesus explaining what the Holy Spirit was capable of, no explanation of what the game plan was on how to run this thing called “the Church,” just “you get Holy Spirit power, go witness, I am out!” The amount of “whys” should flood our minds reading this!
The thing I love most about reading the Bible is connecting the dots. Sometimes to understand something we have to be able to take something apart. Since God exists in the Trinity ( Father, Son, and Spirit), we have to be able to see all that encompasses the Trinity when we ask our “whys.” Each part of the Trinity is God, but each has a “job,” so to speak. Throughout the whole Bible, we see that God is humble. Jesus’ entire life, He was humble and submits to His Father. If you read Philippians chapter 2, Father God will exalt Jesus, the Son, with the name above all names. Throughout the Bible, we see God the Father sending the Holy Spirit. To answer the question of “Why did Jesus ascend” we need to look in John chapter 14. Jesus tells us in verse 16 that when He returns to Heaven “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” Even more crazy, before He says all of that Jesus says in verse 12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” Jesus knows that the disciples “greater work” was made possible because of His work on the cross, and this “greater work” will be fueled by the Holy Spirit.
“Why did Jesus leave?” I feel with all that information, Jesus left so He could send the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that the Spirit would be able to help guide, teach, protect, and ensure believers would always have a way to communicate with God. To say Jesus cannot do something is a dangerous place to be, but Jesus never existed in multiple places in the world at once. Jesus left because He knew by leaving the Holy Spirit could (and would) be everywhere around the world. Crazy to think even Jesus was humble enough to know, He could not be everywhere at once.