"Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God."
Reflection from Sam Trinite:
I am by no means a biblical scholar, but I feel this passage is showing us a few things: First we see Jesus leading his disciples to Bethany. It is in this region that his friends Mary and Martha lived. If you recall, they taught us what is most important in this life. While Martha was busy preparing for their visitors, her sister Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to him. When Martha complained, Jesus answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Jesus raised Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, from the dead in Bethany. We see in John how Jesus said to Martha, “he who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever LIVES and BELIEVES in me will never die.” The Mount of Olives is also located in that area where Jesus preached many times and it holds a special significance to the Jewish people. So obviously, Jesus had a reason to lead his disciples to Bethany.
Next we see that Jesus blessed them. What an awesome thing that must have been! It is my belief that his blessing was not just for them but for all who would be called into following him. As he was blessing them Jesus was taken up into heaven. This served as the final piece to the work he was called to do here on earth. If the disciples had any doubts about him I’m sure they quickly disappeared after seeing him return to the Father.
In verse 52 we see that they worshipped him. From what I could find, this is the first-time Jesus was worshipped on earth. It is the beginning of the new church. We are to worship him and the one who sent him. We also see in verse 52 that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. We are also allotted that great joy. When we truly believe that through Christ our salvation is secured what other emotion could you have! We are to worship God with joy in our hearts.
Finally, they returned to Jerusalem as they were instructed. Once again this is the way we are called to live. Obeying him and trusting in his promise. When they returned, they stayed at the temple praising God. We see here how we ought to live our life in Christ. We are to worship, trust and obey and praise him. One way we can worship is the way we live our life. Are we all in for Christ? Or are we just lukewarm? Would we go to death for him? Does everything we do seek to bring glory to God?
Father we take the time today to say thank you. Thank you for your son, thank you for life, and thank you for being full of grace. Through your son we are set free and we couldn’t ask for a more perfect gift. I pray that your church may be ignited anew in complete devotion and dependence on you. Continue to fill us with your spirit so that our lives may be pleasing to you and so we may be a testament to your glory and love.