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”.
The last words of someone are very important. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one … but you can remember the last thing they ever said to you. When somebody leaves on a long trip, you choose your last words carefully.
Jesus gave us (the Church) a COMMISSION … His parting words … His final instructions before changing headquarters.
2.- Luke 24:49 - "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high."
10 days after the Ascension, Jesus would send the Holy Spirit which He had promised them – Acts 1:4-5
Jesus had already told the Disciples that the Holy Spirit couldn’t come, UNTIL He left - John 16:7 – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
This was “The Intention Of The Ascension”.
NOTICE – It was “through the Holy Spirit” that Jesus gave us the commandments … it is “through the Holy Spirit” that He expects us to obey them.
Acts 1:6 – Jesus took them outside Jerusalem to Bethany, where He would ascend into Heaven.