At the empty tomb on Easter morning, the angels ask the women: ““Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:6).
When the risen Jesus appears to the disciple in the upper room, he asks, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” (Luke 24:38)
After Jesus has ascended, two angels ask the disciples, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? 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).
These seem like basic questions, but they actually get to the heart of what is going on. Those to whom the questions are asked are experiencing confusion. But each question is designed to bring them comfort.
In the Easter quote, the women were sure that Jesus was dead, but the question reveals the good news that Jesus is alive.
In the upper room quote, the disciples were undoubtedly afraid by the sudden appearance of Jesus, but Christ’s question to them assures them that they do not need to be afraid at all.
At the mount of the Ascension, those gathered were certainly at a loss to understand what they just saw. But in the question, the angels explain exactly what has happened.
There is so much in life that causes us angst and confusion and fear, and that is only natural, as it was for those who heard first these questions. It is at those times when we need to remember these rather straightforward questions at pivotal moments in the story of salvation and recognize that God has his plan all worked out. We do not need to get worked up. We just need to stay calm and accept that God in Christ Jesus has set everything in motion for our benefit and our ultimate good. As the famous sign says, “Keep calm and carry on.”