Saturday

14 July 2012

"And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God." (v. 53)



Background

12-07-14 ascension (160)In the few weeks of his bodily resurrection appearances, Jesus helped the disciples believe in the reality of his resurrection. In the liturgical church year this is 40 days from Easter Sunday to Ascension. Through these encounters Jesus talked to his disciples, helping them understand something of the meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection. He commissioned them to witness to his death and resurrection and continue his work through the power from on high that he will send them (Luke 24:47-49). They would become apostles, disciples who are sent.

In today's passage it is the final time Jesus will appear in a recognisable bodily form to the disciples. It is now time for him to return to the Father. This withdrawal of Jesus is pictured as Jesus ascending to God. He will no longer be visible to the few disciples. But, through the coming of the Holy Spirit, he will be available to all people throughout all time.

Jesus blesseed the disciples. A blessing is a powerful prayer requesting God's favour, a prayer for well being and fullness of life. And the disciples will themselves become a blessing to many.

The disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait for the power promised to them from on high. They had come to believe in the reality of Jesus' resurrection, and were filled with a sense of renewed faith and hope. They responded with a fullness of heart. They found themselves worshipping Jesus, giving him adoration, praise and reverence - treating him as they would God. Their hearts were filled with overwhelming joy, as they waited for the Spirit and discovered a renewed purpose in their lives.



To ponder

  • In what ways do you feel you are blessed by God? And how are you able to bless others through your blessings?
  • When do you find yourself filled with great joy and wanting to praise God?
  • Why do you think that Jesus had to withdraw from the disciples and be carried up to heaven?


Bible notes author: The Revd Jenny Ellis

Image: The Ascension by Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), Uffizi Gallery, Florence (cc-art.com)

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