Luke 24:44-53 (The Passion Translation)
44 Then he said to them, “Don’t you remember the words that I spoke to you when I was still with you? I told you that I would fulfill everything written about me, including all the prophecies from the law of Moses through the Psalms and the writings of the prophets.”[Old Testament]
45 He supernaturally unlocked their understanding to receive the revelation of the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Everything that has happened fulfills what the Scriptures prophesied of me. The Messiah was destined to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 Now you must go into all the nations and preach repentance [Aramaic reads grace] and forgiveness of sins so that they will turn to me. Start right here in Jerusalem, 48 for you are my witnesses and have seen for yourselves all that has transpired. 49 I will send the fulfillment of the Father’s promise [Holy Spirit] to you, so stay here in the city until you are clothed with the mighty power of heaven.”
The Ascension of Jesus
50 Jesus led his disciples out to Bethany. He lifted his hands over them and blessed them in his love. 51 While he was still speaking words of love and blessing, he floated off the ground into the sky, ascending into heaven before their very eyes! 52 And all they could do was worship him.
Overwhelmed and ecstatic with joy, they made their way back to Jerusalem. 53 Every day they went to the temple, to praise and worship God.
Today we celebrate Ascension Day or Holy Thursday; this marks the 40th day following Resurrection Sunday and the time when Jesus took his disciples to the Mount of Olives where they watched him ascend to heaven. Christ’s ascension signifies the end of his work as the Suffering Servant here on earth and his exaltation as Ruler and Lord of heaven and earth. Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father and represents humanity’s need for his divine forgiveness and intercession. Now, just as the disciples were instructed by the angels, we look for Christ to return the same way he ascended (Acts 1:11). In ten days the Body of Christ will celebrate Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples gathered in one place. We, too, welcome the Spirit into our lives and invite holiness to shape us. Keep looking up!
Prayer: Lord, as your angels encouraged the disciples, we thank you for the Holy Spirit who encourages us to wait patiently and watch expectantly for your return at the appointed time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.