The period between the resurrection and the ascension was forty days. This bridge between the three years that Jesus spent with the disciples and the ministry that was to come was so valuable to them. They went from being sad, fearful, dejected, alone right after the crucifixion to feeling one of complete joy when the encountered the living Christ. When the living Messiah ascended into heaven to be with God, their joy was made complete.
The risen Christ had taught them much in the time He walked the earth with them. We are also blessed to be able to know His teachings and to learn to be like Christ through our study and reading of the scriptures. As the risen Christ, He shows them (and us) the true meanings of the resurrection – that He has conquered sin and death AND that He can now send the Holy Spirit – to be with us all, every one of us, all the time. This gift greatly expands His disciples and followers ability to minister to others. It does the same for us. The the presence of the Holy Spirit we are each empowered to proclaim the good news, to call for repentance, and to declare divine forgiveness for ourselves and for others. Like the disciples, may we too walk boldly into the world, filled with the Holy Spirit, ministering in Jesus’ name.