Short Meditations on the Ascension: 9. Blessed
Lk 24:50b he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
There is something remarkable here, so remarkable that we will take two days to consider it. First of all the act, and second tomorrow, the implication. A ‘blessing’ is not a tool of manipulation but should be an inspired declaration of the will of God, the will for good. It is a prophetic decree from heaven that we express, that releases good on the earth. The very first blessings – decrees for good – come from the Lord when He created the world, blessing all living creatures (Gen 1:22), human beings (1:28), the day of rest (2:3), human sexuality (5:2). He also blessed Noah (Gen 9:1) and promised blessing for Abram (Gen 12:2) and all those who would be people of faith (12:3). All of these are God expressing His intention of good.
The first human blessing was by Melchizedek who blessed Abram (Gen 14:19) but in some ways it was a declaration of God’s intent, what He had already done (see v.20) and would continue to do – do good for Abram! Next God declared He would bless Sarah and the result would be she would be pregnant (Gen 17:16), a very practical outworking of goodness. When He reiterated His blessing it would be that Abraham’s family would be very numerous (Gen 22:17) an extension of that goodness. But it wasn’t a limited goodness (Gen 24:1) for the Lord has “blessed him in every way”. His whole life reflected the goodness of God brought to him.
After Abraham, the Lord blessed Isaac (Gen 25:11). In Gen 27 we have the story of Rebekah and Jacob tricking Isaac into blessing the younger son, Jacob but the Lord had already decreed that blessing (Gen 25:23) and once Isaac had pronounced it, he knew he could not withdraw it (Gen 27-37-) and in fact pronounced a different truth over Esau. Isaac is a picture of a man who understood blessings.
And so now we come to Jesus departure and the last thing he does before he leaves them is bless them. We’ll see more of this tomorrow but for now we anchor this thought that the Son of God blesses his disciples as he leaves them. He has already prayed for them (see Jn 17:6-) so what might he have been decreeing now?
Well, the apostle Paul made a statement that is all-encompassing and must surely have applied to the apostles as it does to us: “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor 9:8) i.e. provision all the time, meeting every need, in order to enable us to do everything that He has on His heart for us (Eph 2:10). When I pray today I ask for a sense of His presence, the experience of His power, His provision and His protection. Surely it can be nothing less than this.