Thursday 02 June 2011

Bible Book:

"While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven." (v. 51)

Luke 24:44-53 Thursday 2 June 2011


When writing their accounts of the life of Jesus, the writers ofthe four Gospels had many choices to make. They had more materialthat they needed (eg John21:25) and they wanted to include the particular incidents thatwould be most relevant to their expected readers. These choicesresulted in the variation in style and contents between the fourGospels.

Other choices involved how they were to begin and how they were toend their Gospels. We can gain insights into the ways in which theHoly Spirit guided the minds of the different Gospel writers byexamining these important first and last sections of theirwritings.

Today is Ascension Day and our passage is at the end of Luke'sGospel: a brief record of how the risen Jesus was "carried up intoheaven". Luke clearly sees great significance in this event.Despite the fact that he will begin the second volume of hiswritings (The Acts of the Apostles) with a moredetailed description of the same event, Luke clearly feels thathis Gospel account of the life of Jesus will be incomplete withoutalso including a record of the ascension here.

There are questions about the apparent discrepancy between the twoaccounts as to when this event took place. The Gospel accountappears to take place on the evening of the first Easter Daywhile Acts 1:3 speaks of an event taking placesome weeks later. However, in both accounts the key issue is thatalthough the resurrection appearances of Jesus are coming to anend, the work of Jesus will now continue in and through the livesof his followers.

In these final verses of his Gospel, Luke explains how thedisciples will continue to witness to all that Jesus has done (vv.47-48), will join together in prayer and worship (vv. 52-53) andwill be filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 49) so that the work of thekingdom will continue.

The Ascension marks the end of his Gospel account but, for Luke(and for all followers of Jesus), the story continues...

To Ponder

What do you understand to be the significance ofAscension Day?

The first disciples were told to "stay in thecity" until the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them (v. 49).What might it mean for you to wait expectantly for God's powertoday?

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