This is the period of time between the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and His ascension from the Mt. of Olivet. Those of us who have studied the Scriptures for a while are well aware of the number forty. We will not attempt to bring all these to your attention in this short study but to look at the significances as to the ascension of our Savior.
We have been taking a period of time to rejoice in the fact of the resurrection of Christ and to recognize its significance regarding our completed salvation. The song writer in the great hymn “One Day” leaves us with this line in the hymn, “Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away, rising He justified freely forever, one day He is coming.” Praise the Lord.
It was during those 40 days that Christ was making Himself known to His disciples. Of late the thought occurred to me that the Lord did not appear to Pilate, Herod or Caiaphas the High Priest or any other so called leader of the day. However during these 40 days He did indeed appear to individuals and to a company of over 500 on at least one occasion. Other Scriptures indicated He did appear to in excess of 10 individuals. Within 40 days one wonders how many more saw the Savior. He was not a ghost or ghostlike in His appearance. He even asked for food from some of His followers. He said to Thomas, “Give me your finger to place into His hand where the scares were from the crucifixion and His hand to be placed into His side where the spear entered letting out blood and water while on the cross.”
Remember also that the disciples of the Savior did not comprehend the great truths of the coming death and resurrection. Now with the 40 days of Christ between the resurrection and the ascension he was able to bring these truths to fruition in the lives and thinking of these fearful followers.
“And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and were continually in the temple and blessing God.” Luke 24:50-53. Also in the book of Acts 1:12, “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day’s journey.”
I give you these two passages to emphasis that Christ had chosen His departure to be from the Mount of Olivet for His reunion with the Father as He spoke so vividly of in John chapter seventeen. We must be reminded of those things that occurred with Christ in this place. Luke says he came as far as Bethany and Acts says they returned from the mount. However there is no contradiction for we are told that one could see Bethany from some position on the Mountain. It was in Bethany with Mary, Martha and Lazarus that perhaps Christ found the nearest thing to a home in His adult life. However it was on this mountain that Christ won the battle as He wrestled and sweat drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane and cried , “Not my will but Thine be done.” It was here that the one who would betray Him came that night and placed a kiss upon the Savior. It was here that the mob came and took Him away and crucified Him. And now He returns at the end of His 40 days with those he so dearly loved and brought to the place where He spent much time sometimes all night in prayer. Someone has stated, that it was in a garden that Paradise was Lost and it was in a garden that Paradise was regained. Amen.
As Jesus ascended and the disciples watched, the angels asked them, why stand you here gazing into heaven, this same Jesus will return In like manner?