It was a temporary parting, not an abandonment.
Dr. Luke brings volume one of this historical treatise to a rapid conclusion. Jesus led His disciples as far as Bethany where He blessed them. As He spoke this blessing, some sort of separation took place between Him and His followers. Perhaps it was an angelic visitation or perhaps some sort of cloud or even both. Luke does not explain his words. As a physical presence, Jesus left this world and took up residence in heaven. Other sources tell us of a great coronation as Jesus took His place on the Throne of Heaven. He returned to the location where the prophet Isaiah saw Him and received his life-changing vision he described in chapter 6 of His prophecy.
Enthroned upon Our Praise
Physically Jesus left this world, but spiritually He remained with us, just as He promised. The ways of the Divine Godhead are well beyond our understanding. We must accept seemingly contradictory descriptions as true, for as Isaiah said, God’s ways are “past finding out.” So, He is gone and yet He remains. His physical, glorified body occupies the Throne of Heaven as is clearly seen in John’s Revelation. Yet, His spiritual presence is available to those who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. This promise has proved more reliable than the turning of the earth. As sure as sunrise and sunset, as reliable as the shifting of the seasons and the cycles of creation, so sure is His promise to be with us.
He is omnipresent of course, but in a special way Jesus manifests His holy presence in our hearts when we praise Him. The Psalmist says He inhabits and is enthroned upon the praises of His Holy Nation of which all believers are a part. (Psalm 22:3) On every continent of the globe and in every culture of mankind, True Worship establishes the Throne of God and His manifest Presence.
Mt. Zion: The Throne of God and of the Lamb
Dr. Luke concludes with this emphasis on worship:
And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
The writer to the Hebrews declares that, when we gather to worship, True Worshipers are spiritually transported to the Throne Room of God, the heavenly Mt. Zion. This is the same presence of Jesus that the Disciples knew, that Peter preached, that Paul saw on the road to Damascus, and the same promised presence we will enjoy until the Return of our Blessed Lord.
The Promise of the Father
A few days after this departure, the Holy Spirit came into the church. This Promise of the Father is the reality of the spiritual presence of Jesus in this world. He sits as the Refiner’s fire to cleanse our hearts. He empowers our human efforts with a Holy Anointing. He leads us directly through both the Written and the Living Word. Did Jesus leave? Yes. Will He return? Yes. And, He is also with us every moment of every day.
And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:” Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Lord Jesus, I will enter Your Gates with Thanksgiving and Your Courts with Praise. I will humble my heart before You with sacrifices of worship. I will center my life and conduct, my plans and my dreams, on Your Perfect Will. I know that You are always faithful to be enthroned upon my praise. You will walk with me through every valley and trek with me up and down every mountain. Your presence is my promise and my portion. Like the disciples, I will be continually in the temple praising and blessing You. Amen.
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name
Words: Edward Perronet; Music: “Coronation” Oliver Holden
1. All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all!
2. O seed of Israel’s chosen race now ransomed from the fall,
hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all.
Hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all!
3. Let every tongue and every tribe on this terrestrial ball,
to him all majesty ascribe, and crown him Lord of all.
To him all majesty ascribe, and crown him Lord of all!
4. Oh, that with all the sacred throng we at his feet may fall!
We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.
We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.