The Ascension of Jesus

(Luke 24:44-53)

After he had completed his course on the earth, the time came for the Lord to leave. He had given his disciples all the teachings and the examples of his life from which they could draw to go out into the world and preach the gospel. He had shown them the truth of the resurrection and they were now almost ready to begin their phase in the work of the Lord. In his last moments we see some final words of instruction that we can learn from also.

Fulfilling the Scriptures

In his final words Jesus showed the disciples that he had fulfilled all of the words written about him in the scriptures. He had previously done the same with the two he spoke with on the road to Emmaus, and now he spoke the same words to his disciples.

This was to prove that he was indeed the Christ and that all had been completed. And it was to show them that is was now time for him to leave them, for the time had come for the disciples to take his teachings to the world.

Understanding the Word of God

To enable the disciples to take the word to the world as was their task, Jesus then did two things.

The first was that he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. Now this is an interesting piece of knowledge for it shows that prior to this the knowledge of the scriptures was closed. And today the scriptures can be closed until someone comes to the Lord and he opens them up.

It has been my experience and that of many others that we can read the same verses over and over again, and then one time it is as if a light goes on and the truth of the message seems to just jump off the page. Until the Lord opens up the scriptures they remain closed. That is why he instructed us in the sermon on the mount to, “Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Jesus promised us that if we seek and ask him for understanding, he will give it to us. This is a promise of the Lord. And here in Luke we find an example of when he did open up the scriptures to his disciples so that they would understand what the will of God is. And to help them understand as well as to help us understand Jesus gave them a second command.

Power from on High

Jesus told the disciples not to leave the city, for before too long they would receive power from on high. (Verse 49) This power, as we see in the first few chapters of the book of Acts, was the receiving of the Holy Spirit. When the disciples received the Holy Spirit they began their ministry. This was the same as when Jesus began his ministry. Jesus was baptised by John and when he came out of the water he received the Holy Spirit, and from that point on he began to teach and preach to the people. It was the same with the disciples.

This is clear evidence that the work of the ministry and the spreading of the new covenant is the work of God. It is through the working of the Holy Spirit that the message went out to the world. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the message was given and then received and understood by the people, and thus spread to others.

And we see that part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to teach, counsel, guide and protect. This work of the Holy Spirit can be seen through chapters 14 to 16 of the gospel of John. The Holy Spirit opens up the scriptures to us when we are ready to learn the next lesson, just as Jesus opened the scriptures to the disciples so that they could understand.

The Ascension

And after all was said and done, Jesus blessed the disciples as he was lifted up and taken out of their sight. But he did not leave them alone and he has not left us alone. When he left he sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and Jesus himself said that he would be with us always. So we can take comfort in the knowledge that he loves, saves and protects us as he stands by us, knowing that his word is truth and that if he said he would be with us, then he is with us. Let us then praise his name and give him the glory due to him as the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah and the Saviour of mankind. Amen.

This now completes the study of the gospel of Luke. In my next post I shall commence looking at the writings of John’s gospel.

(Picture sourced from www.oChristian.com)

 

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