Short Meditations on the Ascension: 10. The Final Act
Lk 24:51a While he was blessing them
In the previous study we noted the specific act of Jesus blessing his disciples before he left them, but now observe the word, ‘while’ which suggests, ‘as he was’, and it goes on to say that he ascended. Have you ever seen this before? As he is blessing them he starts to rise up and leave them. It is not only the last thing he did before he left them, it was the thing he was still doing as he left them. This is monumental! What was the last memory they had of Jesus? Of him going up, yes, but going up blessing them!
Why is that so significant? It is so important because it pictures Jesus, the one who perfectly expressed his Father’s will, decreeing good for his followers as, not only as his intent for that moment, but indicating that it was what he intended to happen in all the years before he would return again in triumph.
We are living in the era of blessing and we so often forget this. The apostle Paul was to write, “ For the Son of God, Jesus Christ…was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” (2 Cor 1:19,20) The Living Bible puts it, “I have been telling you about Jesus Christ the Son of God. He isn’t one to say yes when he means no. He always does exactly what he says. He carries out and fulfils all of God’s promises, no matter how many of them there are.”
No wonder when Jesus started his ministry he purposefully applied the Isaiah prophecy to himself that concludes, “he has anointed me… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Lk 4:19,20 quoting Isa 61:1,2) This is the era of God’s favour, of His blessings that are brought to us through the finished work of Christ on the Cross. This is the time when every person who turns to Him will receive His goodness and ONLY His goodness.
The apostle Paul declared this again and again, for example, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph 1:3) This goodness starts with forgiveness: “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven; whose sins are covered,” (Rom 4:7) and flows on through this life of obedience: “not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (Jas 1:25)
So here we are, just about to witness one of the strangest things concerning Jesus, his ascension, but the event itself reveals something quite amazing because it happens while he continue to declare the loving decree of the Lord, the loving decree from heaven – blessing on all his followers, goodness for all believers. Hallelujah!