“While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. They worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy.” (Luke 24:50–52)
During the 40 days from His resurrection to His ascension to heaven, Jesus was constantly appearing and vanishing before the disciples. I think He was getting the disciples accustomed to the fact that, even when He was not visible physically, He still would be present and available spiritually.
Before this time, the disciples had expected the Messiah of Israel to come and establish His kingdom, and they would reign with Him. There was no doubt in their minds that Jesus was the Messiah. But when He was crucified, it seemed like a colossal blunder. Now, in the days following the Resurrection, they began to realize that this was the plan all along. They understood that the Scriptures predicted that the Messiah would first suffer and later would come and rule in glory on Earth.
In the meantime, Jesus told them they were to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” and to “teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:19–20).
After instructing them to wait in Jerusalem, where they would receive the promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus led the disciples to Bethany and blessed them. Then, before their eyes, He was taken up to heaven.
The Father’s promise, the Son’s plans, and the Holy Spirit’s power united in making these unlearned disciples the most invincible weapons ever to be held by the hand of God.
The disciples worshiped Him. They witnessed for Him. They would wait for Him until He returned. We should do the same.
Copyright © 2003 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.