Gone But Not Forgotten

June 11, 2024

After hours of agony on the cross, enduring the taunts of the rebellious throng, Jesus committed himself to His Father, hung His head and breathed His last. Jesus was gone. 

This is likely the most enigmatic moment in all of earth’s history. For in this moment, the entire world is upside down. How does one explain the death of the Almighty God? This is why the sun refused to shine. This is why there was a great earthquake. All of creation suddenly became unsettled. After all, it is Jesus who holds all things together (see Colossians 1:16-17). And when Jesus died, the entire planet seemed like it was breaking apart. You know who else was breaking apart? God, the Father. 

Yet, in His omniscience, God knew that by losing His Son He would gain the world. And this is why the resurrection is so important. God demonstrates in the resurrection of Jesus that He holds the keys to life, and that He may grant it to whomever He chooses. So while we may be trapped in the clutches of the enemy, just as Jesus was trapped in the prison of the grave, God can set any soul free who chooses to seek and follow Him. Jesus’ resurrection is proof that death is not the end of the story. 

 The disciples had found a secret place to hide away and bolted themselves behind a door for fear of their safety, when suddenly, Jesus appeared.  He comforted the disciples, and for 40 days, reviewed with them those things that He had taught them before. 

 The disciples were comforted by Jesus’s presence. Then one day, He took them up to the Mount of Olives and gave them one final charge: “...you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8 (NKJV). As He ascended up to Heaven, their hearts must have sunk. Jesus was gone...again. What were they supposed to do now? 

Then the words of heavenly angels pierced through the disciples’ dark clouds of despair. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into Heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven.” Acts 1:11 (NKJV). 

The disciples knew they must finish the work that Jesus had prepared them for. Jesus was gone, but He was not forgotten. His work must not be forgotten. Our challenge is like that of the disciples, to finish the work so we can go home to be with Him.

And when Jesus does return, what a glorious day that will be! We will be united with Jesus and reunited with those loved ones who have fallen asleep in Jesus. “For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NKJV).

He’s gone, but not forgotten! Let’s finish His work. He’s coming back!

By Carlton P. Byrd, D.Min.