The End of the Beginning

50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising God. Luke 24:50–53

The longer version of Luke’s account of the ascension of Jesus appears in his The Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:9-11), delivered also to the most excellent Theophilus. The writer would appear in cameo roles in this account and elsewhere as Paul’s physician (Colossians 4:14), faithful companion (2 Timothy 4:11), and fellow laborer (Philemon 24).

Here in Acts 1:1-11, we find that Jesus will return to earth in the same manner in which he left, coming down from amongst the clouds, an occasion for which we all eagerly wait.

“This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11

What strikes me in Luke’s sequel is this statement about Jesus’ last days with his disciples, especially the “convincing proofs” part.

“To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3

In other words, in a colloquial sense, “they were loaded for bear,” to take the gospel even to the “remotest parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) All that was left was to be imbued with the power of Holy Spirit, which would happen in a few short days at Pentecost. (Acts 2:1-4)

It was Luke’s purpose in his first account to diligently draw together and investigate all the stories of Jesus’ accomplishments on earth, not only to encourage and enlighten Theophilus, but to arm all of us with the truth of The Acts of the Son of Man.

If Luke could write one more book, it’d be the The Acts of the Christians. Perhaps someday in his idle time in heaven he will, when the Book of Life is closed. (Revelation 20:12)

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for nearly 45 years and counting.
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