Our Gospel this week is Luke 24:44-53, taken today from the English Standard Version (ESV).
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
It was important for the disciples to see the risen Christ. It was equally important that they see Him return to heaven. Jesus tells them “you are my witnesses of these things” (v. 48). He wants them to be able to truthfully testify to His Resurrection and Ascension.
Jesus was leaving His ministry to them and wanted them to have all they needed to go and tell the world. As humans, emotions are part of our makeup and the emotional impact of these events would help the disciples share the depth of His love for us.
Now, two thousand years later, it is our responsibility to carry on His work, passed down to us by believers through the ages. While we were not there to see and experience these things, the love Jesus passed to them is still the motivating force in our lives. Just as He called them, so we are called to spread the Good News.
Loving Lord, we are grateful for Your love, given to us and for us. Help us to share the truth of salvation with all Your children. Amen.