The ascension

From Jesus’ resurrection to his ascension was about six weeks, and during that time he gave his disciples further teaching on the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). The overall content of that teaching is probably represented by the summary attached to the story of his first Sunday night appearance to the disciples. He showed them how his ministry on earth was the climax of God’s Old Testament purposes and the starting point for worldwide expansion through his followers. A clear understanding of God’s purposes, together with their own eye witness accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, would give them confidence in taking the gospel to others (see Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:8).

When the time arrived for Jesus to leave his disciples and return to his Father, the disciples were no longer confused but confident. Again Jesus was to be taken from them, but this time instead of fleeing in fear and distress, they accompanied him to the place chosen for his departure. From near Bethany, the


village on the slopes of Mount Olivet just outside Jerusalem, Jesus left his disciples, with the promise that one day he would return (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; cf. Acts 1:9-12).

The disciples returned to Jerusalem praising God, and a few days later received the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised. They began their task of preaching the good news about Jesus and multitudes believed. Their risen Lord was working with them (Mark 16:20; Luke 24:52-53; cf. Acts 2:1-4,41-47; 4:10-12).

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