And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.…
Probably the only direct statement of the fact of the Ascension is by St. Luke. Other evangelists point to the same consummation, but do not describe it, for Mark (Mark 16:19, 20) probably a later addition. As an event, corresponds with the miraculous commencement of the Savior's life, and his many announcements of return to heaven, especially as recorded by St. John. The important place of the fact in the Acts, and its manner of relation, show that it is not a mere halo of disciple-worship round the head of the Master, but the true beginning of the Church's history. Yet, like many other essential facts, only partly presented to the eyes of men. There is a cloud of mystery, a veil over the secret depths of glory. Regard the Ascension -
I. IN ITS RELATION TO THE SAVIOUR HIMSELF.
1. As glorification, and so lifting up of the earthly facts into the higher sphere; scaling of authority; hiding of infirmity; manifestation of kingly power; connecting of the three offices of Christ, as Prophet, Priest, and King, with the one center of his personal existence, his heavenly throne.
2. As the commencement of the wider ministry of the Spirit. Before his ascension Jesus was almost entirely a minister to the Jews; from henceforth he was, through his messengers by the Holy Ghost, the Savior of the world.
II. IN RELATION TO DISCIPLES.
1. As the completion of their faith.
2. As the correction of their errors, and the help to a more spiritual apprehension of Jesus.
3. As the embodiment of the promise of the Spirit, for the High Priest had thus visibly gone into the holiest place, and would return with the blessing. 4. As the discipline which would draw them together, and help them to realize the fact of their Church life as the life of the world.
III. IN RELATION TO THE WORLD AT LARGE.
1. Proclamation of the kingdom of heaven.
2. The setting on high of the gospel facts as a sun in the sky from which the light should pour down over all the earth. The Nazarene speaks from heaven. The Crucified is the Glorified.
3. The help of men's faith to lay hold of the invisible and eternal. He who has so gone, shall so return. "I go to prepare a place for you." The end of the world is in that ascension of the world's highest to heaven. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.