The ascension of Jesus is an historical fact that was witnessed by eleven men. It is recorded in two of the four Gospels as well as in Acts 1. They had walked with Jesus to Bethany and while he was blessing them there he was lifted up to glory (Luke 24:50-53).
The disciples watched him ascend until he entered a cloud. This cloud was similar to what had happened on the Mount of Transfiguration when surrounded by a cloud of glory the three disciples (Peter, James and John) heard the voice of the Father telling them to listen to Jesus.
Although the watching disciples could not hear it, when Jesus ascended and reached heaven, he was welcomed by his Father, in the words of Psalm 110: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’ Jesus was then exalted to the highest place and became King of kings and Lord of lords. From the place of universal superiority he governs the nations. And he does it for the benefit of his church. The person in control of all things is Jesus Christ.
The disciples were awestruck by what they had just seen. But two angels told them not to continue gazing into heaven, but to go to work for Jesus on earth, by witnessing to him. As has often been pointed out, those two angels were willing to miss seeing the ascension in order to remind the disciples that they could bring glory to Jesus on earth by serving him as best they could.
The ascension of Jesus gives optimism for both the present and the future. We do not know the future. But we do know that Jesus has ascended. He did not leave in order to escape from the future; no, he ascended to control the future. Everything is in his hands. What optimism that should create!