When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
This description of the Ascension of Jesus Christ is one of two accounts provided by Luke. Here he understates what happened by only saying, “he left them and was taken up into heaven.” In Acts, Luke tells of two men dressed in white who suddenly appeared after Jesus had ascended and who asked the disciples why they were staring up into the sky. Then the men in white said, “This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Jesus had promised his followers that he would not leave them as orphans; now they were told he would return in the same way he left. With his departure into heaven, his followers were left with this: On the previous Friday Jesus had died on the cross at Calvary. On the third day, the day after Passover, he had risen from the tomb. With his ascension into heaven, they were told that he would come back again, just as he had left. And so, with all of these extraordinary events and promises to ponder, they returned together to Jerusalem to wait for what would come next.