Summary: In the final post-resurrection appearance of Jesus, He ascends into Heaven to send the Holy Spirit to indwell each believer to fulfill the Commission He gave them.
“The Intention Of The Ascension”
INTRODUCTION: Since Easter Sunday, we have been studying the “Post-Resurrection Appearances Of Jesus”.
We saw how Jesus appeared to:
o The women at the tomb.
o The 2 disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
o The 10 Disciples, with Thomas absent.
o The 11 Disciples, with Thomas present.
o The 7 Disciples as they waited by the Sea of Galilee.
o Peter, asking him, “Do You Really, Really Love Me?”
o Peter, restoring him to ministry.
NOW … we are going to look at the CLIMAX of the Post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus … the ASCENSION.
It has been 40 days since Jesus rose from the dead & first appeared to the women at the tomb.
During these 40 days Jesus met with over 500 people on numerous occasions.
He preached … He taught His Disciples … He performed miracles … much like He did before His death.
BUT … things were DIFFERENT:
o Jesus had a RESURRECTED BODY … which could be SEEN … FELT … EAT … TRAVEL at the speed of thought … PASS through walls.
o Jesus didn’t spend all His time with the 11 Disciples.
- He spent the 40 days appearing to many people …to validate His resurrection from the dead … before He would go back to Heaven.
- A SINGLE sighting would have been open to question … there was now NO QUESTION that He was ALIVE!
WHY 40 DAYS?
“40” is an interesting number in the Scriptures.
o It rained for 40 days/nights in Noah’s day.
o The 12 spies spent 40 days spying out the Promised Land.
o Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness.
o Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days & 40 nights, receiving the Law of God.
o Goliath taunted the Jews for 40 days before David slew him.
o God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent … or be destroyed.
o Jesus was tested by Satan for 40 days in the wilderness.
NOW – Jesus spends 40 days on earth after His resurrection, teaching His Disciples.
Jesus had spent 3½ years teaching them … but they just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that God’s program meant the cross … and a Kingdom not of this world.
NOW … they are beginning to understand … it’s finally beginning to make sense … they are beginning to “get it”.
Luke tells us about this in Luke 24:45 – “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”
LUKE tells us the story of the ASCENSION in the book of Acts … let’s listen in …
Acts 1:1 – Luke had told the story of Jesus’ EARTHLY ministry … NOW … he begins the POST-RESURRECTION ministry of Jesus.
“began” – The ASCENSION of Jesus was an EXTENSION of the Resurrection.
Instead of the Resurrection being INSTANTANEOUS, it lasted for 40 days … UNTIL Jesus ASCENDED into Heaven.
BUT – His ministry isn’t OVER … Jesus is about to begin a NEW MINISTRY … from a different headquarters.
Instead of being stationed on planet Earth … He is to be stationed at God’s Throne in Heaven.
That’s where Stephen saw Him a few weeks later … Acts 7:54-56
Acts 1:2 – This tells us what Jesus did during those 40 days … He “had given commandments unto the apostles”.
What were some of those “commandments”?
1.- Matthew 28:18-20 – all turn
Jesus spoke this just before He ascended into Heaven … the “Great Commission”.