Reading: Luke 24: 44-53
Verse 51: While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven.
Just prior to today’s passage, the two who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus return and tell the disciples about their encounter with the risen Lord. In the midst of the conversation that follows, Jesus appears to the disciples. He begins by saying, “Peace be with you”. Surprisingly, they were “startled and frightened” so Jesus shows them His hands and feet. To reassure them He says, “It is I!” but there is still doubt. So Jesus takes a piece of fish and eats it in their presence. It is as if Jesus we’re saying, ‘See, I am real’. This is where today’s passage picks up.
Jesus then goes on to explain all that is written about Him in “the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms”. Just as He had with the Emmaus pair, Jesus did this to open their minds so they could fully understand and know who and what He was and to help them understand where He was going now. He again promises them “power from on high” – the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Jesus then leads them out near Bethany, offers them one last blessing, and is taken up into heaven. We can only assume that this is one of the things that Jesus had just explained as He taught them and opened their minds. The disciples worship Jesus right then and there and then return to the city with great joy. They go to the temple and continue to lift their praises to God. The disciples know that Jesus has ascended and that they have been promised this “power from on high”. No wonder they are filled with joy!
In the 2000+ years since, Jesus has continued to sit at the right hand of the Father. He continues to intercede on our behalf. The promise of “power from on high” remains in effect. When a believer accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes and lives within us as a daily presence of Jesus. It is also our reason to be filled with joy. No matter what life brings, we do not walk alone. His presence is always with us. May we too offer our praises to God this day!