The Big Story

The Big Story Week 33: Jesus Returns to Heaven

Bible Truths

  • Jesus is God. (Week 16)
  • Jesus wants us to follow him and tell others about him. (Week 22)
  • Christ died for all sinners. (Week 31)
  • God raised Jesus from the dead. (Week 32)
  • Jesus returned to heaven.

Bible Verse

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20 NIV


Last week we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus told Mary Magdalene to tell the Disciples about the empty tomb. Over the next 40 days Jesus would appear several times before returning to heaven.

Day 1

After Jesus saw Mary Magdalene at the tomb he went to Emmaus (E-may-us). On the road to Emmaus Jesus meets two of his followers. They were discussing the events of the past few days and didn’t recognize Jesus.

19 “What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.

22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23 They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24 Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”

25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:19-27 NLT

We they reached Emmaus his followers invited Jesus to stay with them.

29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us

Luke 24:29-32 NLT
  1. Why do you think Jesus’s followers didn’t recognize Him until the meal?

Day 2

Next Jesus appeared to ten of The Disciples. He entered through a locked door. Jesus was a NOT ghost. He had a body that they could see and touch. He even ate some fish.

35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!

38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.

41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched.

Luke 24:35-43 NLT

I think it probably freaked them out Jesus just appearing there. I know it would have freaked me out. It is a reminder that even though Jesus came to earth in human form he is God.

Day 3

The disciples and others were really have a hard time. So much had happen in a short time. Even though Jesus had tried to prepare them for this it was hard to understand. Some of them like Thomas had a very hard time believing that Jesus really was alive.

24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

John 20:24-29 NLT

Sometimes it can be hard to believe things we don’t see or understand. Faith is when we are able to believe things that we do not see or fully understand.

 Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 NIrV

Sometimes it can be hard to trust God to take of us or our challenges. One source of encouragement for me is Hebrews 11. It is often called the Faith Hall of Fame. Hebrews 11 walks through the Old Testament with examples of people like Noah, Abraham, Ruth and Joseph who trusted God even in very hard times. I challenge you to take time to read the Hebrews 11 this week. Let me know if you do.

Day 4

Peter and several other disciples returned to fishing. They had spent all night fishing but didn’t catch anything. Around dawn Jesus appears on the beach and tells them to put their nets out on the other side of the boat. They caught so many fish that their nets were overflowing. Jesus fixed them breakfast this. This was the third time Jesus appeared to The Disciples. Guess what? They recognized Him. After breakfast Jesus gives better a challenge.

15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?[a]

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

John 21:15-17 NLT

By the third time Peter is upset and hurt that Jesus asked him the same question 3 times. It appears that Jesus asked the same question 3 times. Go back read them carefully. What does Jesus ask him to do the first time? What about the 2nd and 3rd times? Each time Jesus asks him to do something different.

Day 5

Over the next 40 days Jesus would appear to many he people. He would also spend time teaching his disciples and other followers. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. Until then Jesus instructed them to wait in Jerusalem.

 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.

Acts 1:4 NLT

Next week we will learn about when the Holy Spirit came.

Jesus and the Disciples left Galilee and went to the mountains. Jesus gave a blessing and final instructions to the Disciples.

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 NLT

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

Acts 1:9-11 NLT

We have learned that Jesus came to die in our place for our sins. If we believe in Him he has promised that one day we will go to heaven as well. We have to make that choice ourselves. Have you made the decision to follow Jesus? If not is that something you would like to do?

If you already chosen to follow Jesus, then you have been called to tell others about Jesus. How can you share God’s love with someone this week?

Keep Growing in Grace,