Summary: Sermon about when Jesus went to heaven, after appearing to the disciples.
The Attitude of Our Lord in the Ascension.
I am a person that observes everything around me. I observe the way people speak, the way they walk, the way they gesticulate and the way they behave in different situations.
I also observe people’s faces. What they look like. The shape of their faces, the shape of their eyebrows, their lips and the thickness of their hair among other things, is what I observe.
Something that I always observe is a person’s hand. Some are big hands, small, soft, rough, with long fingers or short. My wife has strong hands capable of moving all of the fingers randomly through the piano.
We will now think about Jesus’ hands and everything that they did. Hands that cured the sick, expelled demons, hands that performed miracles, hands that were nailed in the cross and that were shown to the disciples after his resurrection.
Today we will focus on Jesus’ hands in the day of His ascension, since we celebrated his ascension to heaven this week.
Let us read Luke 24:50-53.
In this text, nothing extraordinary happened in terms of miracles. It was a calm scene: there was no fire or chariots of fire. It was a majestic scene: there were no angels or anything to steal the splendor of the scene. There was only the power of God acting with simplicity.
Jesus’ Hands rose to bless
Before ascending to heaven Jesus blessed his disciples.
That blessing was given with authority. He blessed them, while the Father welcomed him, receiving him into heaven.
That blessing was for those that were under his command. They were his disciples and they obeyed their master.
Jesus’ hands were pierced
While blessing his disciples, Jesus was close to them. We can imagine that they saw the holes, the marks of the nails in Jesus’ hands. There was no doubt that those hands were Jesus’ hands.
When the disciples saw Jesus’ pierced hands, they realized that the blessing that they received on that moment had been bought by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. His crucifixion bought continuous blessing for all redeemed.
What place did Jesus choose to be the place of his ascension? He didn’t choose Bethlehem where angels sang praises. He didn’t choose the Calvary where open graves and split rocks proclaimed his divinity. And He didn’t choose the transfiguration mountain where his glory was revealed to the disciples. But he chose Bethany, a humble village.
We can say that the way in which Christ ascended to the heaven was an example of divine simplicity and it is so difficult to find any other episode like this in his life. After blessing them he stood back, He rose to heaven and disappeared behind a cloud.
Those wonderful hands of Jesus!
They were the same hands that were given to Peter when he sank in the waves in the Sea of Galilee. They were the same hands that the doubting Thomas saw before recognizing the power of the resurrected Christ, before he declared "My Lord and my God". They were the same hands that the disciples saw for the last time in a farewell blessing.
Only after ten days the disciples understood the fullness of the blessing given by Jesus in his ascension.
Peter at the Pentecost, must have preached with that last vision of Christ’s hands when he said: "This man (Jesus), was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you with the help of the wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead because it was impossible for death to keep its hold of him." Those hands knock on the door of your heart today. Those hands have deep marks of love. They wave for the tired pilgrim.
Don’t waste this opportunity. Today Jesus wants to use His hands to bless you, to change your character, to carry your yoke. He wants to take away this burden you’ve been carrying for so long, he wants to renew your strength, he wants to transform your sadness in happiness; he wants to transform your depression in joy and your lack of faith in hope.