While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
— Luke 24:51
Saying goodbye can be hard. In fact, grieving loss is one of the hardest things we must do in life. Jesus’ disciples surely felt grief and sorrow as they watched him being taken up to heaven.
With the Apostles’ Creed we say that Jesus “ascended to heaven.” This happened forty days after his resurrection (see Acts 1:1-11). But this does not mean Jesus abandoned his disciples or us. No, Jesus went to heaven for us.
While the Bible isn’t very clear about where heaven is or what it looks like, it plainly teaches that heaven means being in the presence of God. In God’s presence, Jesus serves as our advocate, continuously interceding with God the Father for our every need (Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2). Jesus’ presence with God also assures us that one day we will be with him in God’s presence as well (John 14:1-3). And from heaven Jesus sends his Holy Spirit as a guarantee and a reminder that he is always with us (Matthew 28:20).
Knowing that Jesus is in heaven for us now gives us tremendous comfort and strength as we wait for his promised return. In the meantime, as he lives in our hearts through his Spirit, Jesus calls us to share his love with a world full of sorrow and grief.
Thank you for being in heaven for us, Lord Jesus. As we wait for your return, help us to continue your work here on earth. Amen.