His Ascension: A Chronological Harmony

His Ascension

The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:4-12)

            At some point, the disciples returned to Jerusalem as the Lord told them to do. He met with them again there. He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem until they received the promise from the Father. They would not have a long wait. In just a few days they would be baptized (immersed) in the Spirit.

            Even at this last point, the disciples still thought that Jesus would be an earthly king. They began asking Jesus if he would at this time restore the kingdom to Israel. But much like his response to Peter when he asked about John’s fate, Jesus tells the disciples that it isn’t for them to know what God’s plans are. There is no implication that God would restore Israel in this response, he is only telling them that they would not be privy to God’s plans.

            What they must focus on is their own task, which is to spread the gospel. Once they have received the Holy Spirit, they are to act as witnesses of the events they have seen (Joel 2:28; John 15:26). They will start in Jerusalem, move into Judea and Samaria, and from there spread the message into all the world. This is as was prophesied (Isaiah 2:3).

            Leading them out of city to Mount Olivet near Bethany, Jesus gave his blessing, and then ascended into heaven. The disciples watched as he arose until he entered a cloud and was lost to their sight (Daniel 7:13-14).

            When Jesus left, he went to sit on at the right hand of God to rule the world (Psalm 110:1; Ephesians 1:20-22; I Corinthians 15:23-28). Christ’s reign is not some future event, but one taking place currently.

            While the disciples stared upwards, two angels in white garments appeared beside them. They asked the disciples why they continued to stare into heaven. Jesus was now in heaven and would one day return in similar fashion (II Thessalonians 1:7-10).

            The disciples fell down and worship Jesus and then returned to Jerusalem in joy. There they spent time in prayer and praise in the temple while awaiting the promise of the Spirit.

            The disciples left and began preaching the gospel message to all the world as the Lord had commanded them. Signs accompanied them through the help of the Lord to confirm the words they were teaching (I Corinthians 2:4-5; Hebrews 2:4). Miracles in the Bible were not done for sake of the signs themself. Miracles served a purpose, to confirm that those speaking for God had God’s blessings.