And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
Contrast this loss with the loss felt at the cross. The limitations of their understanding denied the comfort of hope. With understanding of the events surrounding the cross and Jesus’ death given to them by Jesus, along with his promise of one to come, there was hope, hope that permitted joy, daily worship, and praise to God for what had been accomplished. The darkness and despair were defeated. Now a forward focus was begun, an outward focus was taking shape.
A recent documentary on the Eastern European immigration to the US just prior to WWII gave some insight into a similar setting. The immigrants were in a strange land, facing obstacles that would be hard to overcome and their strength came from the daily worship prior to going into the work world. They brought their faith with them and attended church meetings (mass) each morning, reminding themselves daily of Christ’s suffering and victory, the same suffering and victory we can have. This strength gave character, perseverance, and success in sharing the principles found in the Scriptures by living them. This strength was passed down through the generations to today. And that is another story. Today…
There is a similarity between these two shared histories. When people are faced with obstacles in their lives that seem overwhelming and the darkness would try to defeat them, it is God’s provision of hope through Jesus and His sacrifice that dispels the darkness. We have to partake of it, we have to be active, we have to participate, and we have to remember. The darkness and despair were defeated. We have something to look forward to as believers. We have a promise of a future and a blessed present. This spiritual promise transcends, goes beyond the natural man, natural circumstances, the physical world. This promise goes beyond the limitations of time. What Christ endured he endured for us all. And he showed us we can rise above whatever comes our way in this world. There is a plan; suffering is part of that plan but so is redemption and release. Christ broke free of death’s curse and so will we. Any death, be it physical, emotional, the death of relationships or dreams. We can be free of the sting of that death.