50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
Observations and Reflections
Two interesting things happened once Jesus ascended into heaven. First, the disciples returned to Jerusalem. Secondly, they went to the temple. This ending that Luke puts on the story is no insignificant. First, the people were still gathered for the passover festival. They were returning to the crowds that had Just had Jesus crucified. Furthermore, they are returning to the temple, where the religious leaders were and the 12 disciples would have been recognized. This is behavior that would be unexpected for the Jewish people and the religious leaders. In their the minds of the Pharisee and Scribes, the Jesus problem is now gone since there can be so such thing as a crucified messiah. However, the disciples did not run away in shame and embarrassment. They returned boldly to proclaim the good news.
That good news is going to spread like wildfire, as the disciples’ work had not only begun. They must now carry on the work that Jesus set out for them. Likewise we must all finish this duty.
The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ has officially come to an end. Now, He has empowered His followers to carry on His work with the help of the Holy Spirit that will continue to lead and guide them. He has opened up a gateway of communication in which He is only a prayer away and because of His death on the cross, the gap between humanity and God has been closed.
They were filled with joy and celebration knowing that their Savior is truly alive and will continue to live inside their hearts and move to do great things throughout the rest of their lives. The time had now come for the disciples to take all that Jesus had taught them and spread that good news to the rest of the world.
It is amazing to see how this passage ends off with so much joy and hope. That hope is what carried on in building the life of the church and the body of Christ as we know it to be today. However, that work is not yet completed. There is still work to be done in terms of winning many lost souls to Christ and just as the disciples were equipped to do His work, He too longs to equip us to carry on the work that was started long ago and shine the light of Jesus Christ to the rest of the world.