Being taken up in to the clouds?
How serious do we need to take this? How serious was it? How important is it? What is the point?
Well, at least one of us has no problem believing Jesus was taken up in to the clouds in front of some of his followers. We have never seen any one do that, however we have also not ever stood in the physical presence of the God-Man / Man-God. We like to make room for the possibility that he could do what he felt appropriate at the time.
The fact of Jesus being physically whisked away in to the clouds (as fantastic as it may sound to us today) doesn't seem to be the primary point of the scene. As we read the story as presented in the gospel of Luke and in the book of Acts (which many suspect were written by the same author) we see Jesus gathering his followers for one last bit of instruction before he goes. This is something of a parallel to the "Great Commission" found at the end of the gospel of Matthew. In both Luke and in Acts he instructs those listening that they will be His witnesses to all nations.
In Luke he instructs them to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in his name to all nations and in Acts he simply tells them they will be his witnesses to the ends of the earth.
And then he rises up in to the air and disappears.
What an exclamation point! That is such an impressive way to show the importance of a teaching. Most folks are doing well if they can pound the table a bit or get folks to clap after an important point. For Jesus, he emphasizes his words by Completely Leaving.
But it seems like those words would stick, doesn't it? It seems like after hearing that instruction and seeing Jesus disapparate, Peter must have turned to James and said, "Well, I guess we should get on with telling others about Jesus...right now."
Paul wasn't there, but he was certainly privvy to the witness of the folks that were there that day. And evidence of how seriously he took that teaching is present in the letters he wrote and the work he did to spread the Good News throughout the world.
This seems like an important message for us to pay attention to.
It seems like it is set apart and put at the end to make sure we do not miss it.