December 23 - Luke 24:50-53

Monday, December 23, 2013

Luke 24:50-53 – The Ascension

Not only had Jesus told his disciples about his crucifixion and resurrection before it occurred, but he also told them of his ascension. Moses and Elijah spoke of it at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:31) and in Luke 9:51, Luke writes “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

When he spoke at his trial, Jesus said, “But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God” (Luke 22:69) and when he spoke to the two on the way to Emmaus, he asked “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

Though Luke is the only one of the Gospel writers to tell of the ascension, he has made sure that his readers are fully prepared for it.

Notice that Luke fully fleshes out the person of Jesus Christ in these last verses. He acts as priest in giving them a final blessing. The priestly blessing that Zechariah was unable to speak in the beginning of this Gospel is pronounced by Jesus Christ. As Elijah the prophet was taken up into heaven, God’s action in taking Jesus this way reminds Luke’s readers that Jesus is greater than all the prophets. He is priest. He is prophet. He is the Messiah.

Luke, as the consummate story teller, takes his reader back to the story of the shepherds at the birth of the child. The disciples worshiped Jesus and returned with great joy, praising God.

“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Luke 2:20).

Jesus came to earth, conceived by the Holy Spirit. A glorious miracle gave the world a Savior. Jesus blessed his disciples and was taken up into heaven. The miracle gave the world a Resurrected Messiah, come to redeem humanity.