Christ on Every Page

the Ascension

Luke 24 & Acts 1:1-8

From Resurrection to Ascension

Monday: Acts 1:1-8


In the forty days after resurrection and preceding His ascension into heaven, Jesus appears several times to different groups of people, and the disciples repeatedly.    He appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, most of the disciples on the same day, and the disciples on the following Sunday with Thomas now present and needing to get over the doubt hump.  Paul documents in his letter to the Corinthians, that over five hundred people saw Jesus Christ as a resurrected Savior on the same day (1 Corinthians 15:4).  John concludes his Gospel with the miraculous catch on Galilee with a lakeside breakfast grill with the resurrected Lord.  


Luke, the Jesus historian, carefully lays out his appearance with a couple of disciples on the road to Emmaus where, not only are their eyes opened, but their minds are opened in a greater understanding of Jesus. 


On this same day, in Jerusalem, Jesus appears yet again to the eleven in his final encounter with them as the risen Lord.   In the conclusion of his time with them, He leads them up to Bethany, a short walk out of Jerusalem. There he gives them the great commission, blesses them, and ascends into the sky.  


It is clear from the text that during the forty days after the resurrection, several things are happening: increased revelationprobation—that is a proving a that He is, in fact, alive, proclamation—everyone who encounters Him, reports it to others. In the end, He gives a commission, a benediction and finally they see His ascension.  

revelation

Tuesday: Luke 24:13-33


Jesus’ encounter with a couple of disciples on the road to Emmaus illuminates something that Jesus is unfolding to every person in His post-resurrection encounters—revelation.  


These disciples, one named Cleopas and another unnamed were traveling home to Emmaus, about seven miles northwest of Jerusalem.  They were joined along the way by Jesus, though their eyes were supernaturally restrained from recognizing him. 


The two disciples were sad and the traveler asked them "Why?"


Are you the only person in Jerusalem who has not heard about what happened?”  


The events of Jesus’ death did not happen in a cone of silence.  He was well-known in life, so His death was well reported also.  Add to that the solar eclipse, the earthquakes, the temple curtain being rent on the same hours of his crucifixion, you would have to be deaf, dumb and blind to be ignorant of recent events.   


Cleopas and his companion give report concerning Jesus of Nazareth with a great riddle at the end—a reported resurrection!  These gloomy disciples are dumbfounded as to what to make of such an impossible tale.


 At that point the Lord gives peels the layers from their blinded hearts. 


Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”” (Luke 24:25–26, NKJV) 


These dear believers understood much about Christ, that He was a prophet mighty in work and word and that he had been delivered up, condemned and crucified by the chief priests and rulers. But they failed to realize how well founded was their hope that Jesus as the one to redeem Israel and to redeem sinners!  

Jesus opens their minds by opening the Scriptures to them. 


And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27, NKJV) 


Friend, all of the Scriptures reveal Christ.  If you would have your mind and heart opened to a greater revelation of the Lord, open up the Scriptures.  That is what we do on Sundays. How much greater the revelation of Christ, when we open up the Scriptures in worship regularly and seek Christ there.


A greater revelation comes to Cleopas and his companion when they invite the traveler into their home.  He took the bread and broke it and gave it to them. “Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him.”


This is how God deals with us: He chooses when to reveal himself to us, and when he does, everything makes perfect sense and comes together perfectly. 


Probation

Wednesday: Luke 24:33-40


See the Lord prove himself resurrected.  He shows his wounds. He says, “See Me. Handle Me.”  If they should think he was a spirit, He says, “Do you have any food?” He eats some broiled fish and honeycomb. Immaterial ghosts don’t eat material food.  


The proofs were infallible both that He was alive and that it was He Himself.    


Luke would write later:


He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3, NKJV) 


There is a fallacy that God would not give us proof, that he would, as they say, have us walk by “blind faith.”  I have always said and maintain today, that God does not call any man to walk by so called “blind faith.” 


Nowhere in the Bible will you find the phrase, “blind faith”.


The Bible does say: “Walk by faith and not by sight.”  (2 Corinthians 5:7) That is, you are not to live your life any longer by your earthly senses but rather by faith in God.  


But make no mistake about it, our faith is based upon solid evidence that God is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV) 


But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV) 


Jesus invited the disciples to employ their physical eyes and touch that they might know that He was alive and that it was Him!  God has given us many proofs of Himself. “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  Romans 1:20


There is too much proof all around us that there is a divine designer behind a vast array of complex creations that range from atoms to stars and butterflies to kangaroos. To believe that creation can create itself is intellectual suicide.  

 

Jesus is not only happy to provide proof of his resurrection, He makes resurrection an essential element for faith in him.  Paul would write many years later: 


For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” (1 Corinthians 15:3–8, NKJV) 


Friends, the Risen Christ will prove himself to you. He doesn’t ask you to have “blind faith.” He calls you to believe in a faith that has evidence behind it.   


People who walk by faith aren’t blind. They see something else. They see something better.  They see someone better. They see Jesus. 


By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27, NKJV) 

proclamation

Thursday: Luke 24:44-47


We see revelation and probation continuing with Jesus’ discourse with his disciples.  Everywhere in the resurrection narrative we see proclamation: 

  • The women from the tomb report the risen Christ to the Disciples.  
  • The couple from the road to Emmaus proclaim the risen Christ encounter with the disciples in Jerusalem. T
  • he Disciples themselves have encounters with risen Christ and what does he tell them: “Go, proclaim the good news!” 

See the proving of Christ continuing. Not only the proving that he was alive, and it was Him, but proving that Christ was the Messiah as the Scriptures had predicted!


Paul echoed Christ on Emmaus and Christ in the room with the disciples by proving Jesus was the Messiah through the Scriptures:

 

Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”” (Acts 17:2–3, NKJV) 



Notice he isn’t only proving Jesus is the Messiah predicted in Scripture. He is preaching the atonement that Jesus made so clear with his disciples.  


His suffering and death had a purpose to pay for sin. His resurrection had a purpose to bring victory over death.  


You won’t find Paul preaching in the book of acts. “You have a great big ‘God shaped hole in your life, and you need Jesus to fill it.”  


No, he preached repentance and remission from sins in the finished work of Messiah who is Jesus Christ.  We don’t have an unhappiness problem. We have a sin problem.  Jesus didn’t die to make you happy. He died to make you holy. There is a judgment day coming. Everything we have ever done will be revealed. 


And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13, NKJV)


Doesn't that make you see your great need for remission of sin? 


He died to save us from the consequences of our sin which is death and hell. He calls us to repentance, to leave our old lives behind and to trust Christ for the remission/removal of our sins once and for all. 


Now here is the beautiful part, If you were pulled from a burning fire while you slept at night, wouldn’t you be a very happy person?   Wouldn’t you joyfully tell others about it?   If you have been truly saved, wouldn’t you live your life to save others? 

 

The Disciples were called to proclamation and so are we.  


benediction and ascension

Friday: John 19:28-30


The disciples had a big job before them, and impossible task—to evangelize the world.  They would need the blessing of heaven upon them.  John 20:22 tells us that He had breathed upon them and they received the Holy Spirit. But there was baptism of power in the Holy Spirit still ahead of them.

  


How many of us know there is a difference between the breath of the Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  One is a whisper and the other is shout. One is a puff and another is a mighty wind.  They will indeed wait for power upon high and they will not be disappointed. In the book of Acts the fire will fall and the church will be born

But here see the blessing and his ascension.

 

He came from heaven to earth in His incarnation to finish the work of atonement. Now He will return to heaven to intercede for us there and to do business with the Father on our behalf. 


The disciples had known him in the flesh. From this time forward every disciple, like me and you, will know Him through the Spirit.  


He purposefully led them up to Bethany upon the Mount of Olives.  Here he had taught frequently and had close friends. 


From here was the Garden of Gethsemane, the place of solemn prayer. 

From here he descended to Jerusalem with the Triumphal Entry and from here He will ascend until he returns in Triumph on that last day. 


And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:4, NKJV) 


But now he raises his hands to bless them as Jacob blessed his sons. As Moses blessed the people and commanded Aaron to speak words of God’s favor over his children, So Christ did for them. 

 

True friend of Christ, do you want to know what Jesus thinks of you?  He loves you and blesses you and He is coming again for you.

 

 “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lordlift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’ “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”” (Numbers 6:22–27, NKJV)