Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. Now during the blessing he departed and was taken up into heaven. So they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple courts blessing God.
It’s kind of cool to see how the Gospel of Luke ends.
It started in the temple and it ends in the temple. It started with an angel’s proclamation and Zechariah’s silence as a sign and a wonder. It ends with the disciples’ proclamations and (we know from Acts) many more signs and wonders.
The whole Gospel is starting over again, but now all of the things that Jesus did are going to be done by the church. And the number one way they are going to do it: “with great joy.”
The disciples were sad, duh, when Jesus died. When He rose from the dead, He showed up in all different ways and finished up the teachings He had for them. That was 40 days of some of the most surprising, unexpected kinds of teaching in the history of the church.
Then they had 10 days of waiting.
10 days when they knew Jesus wouldn’t show up, but they didn’t know what would happen. The knew that Jesus had disappeared and taken His place “in the heavens” and that “The Promise” was coming, but they didn’t know what that was.
But they stayed in Jerusalem.
You have to give them some honor for that. These guys (and women) probably felt so joyful and invincible that nothing could stop them. They had just seen Jesus back from the dead multiple times! But they didn’t reason that they had all they needed and just go for it. They didn’t formulate their plan and execute it. They waited.
And they went to church.
The temple courts were the number one place in the world to find people that had already heard Jesus teach and might be interested in more. Sure, the disciples had an unmatched experience that a lot of people wouldn’t understand, but Jesus didn’t want them to keep it to themselves. They were going to be His witnesses now that He was missing. They were going to be His proclaimers now that He’d be spending all of His time interceding for us before the Father
Bret has called church on Sundays an “adrenaline shot” many times before. It’s a chance to get together and to talk about Jesus. To set up more times during the week for us to get together and talk about our lives, the Bible, and what Jesus is doing.
No matter what their variety of experiences, after the ascension of Jesus, the disciples did the next most natural thing. They got together and blessed God, gathering together everyone else that was interested in doing the same.
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