And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.…
1. Jesus retired from Jerusalem for this final act of His earthly life. Great deeds are better done in solitude, when one is shut up to the Father alone. A man's piety cannot be very deep, if it does not sometimes have a few personal and unutterable reserves in it.
2. Christ chose a spot hitherto full of only debased memories; Bethany, "house of the poor." This ascension made it historic, more even than the august march of the Shekinah over the same plot of ground (Ezekiel 11:23). Very much of our earthly geography will be famous in heaven to those who love Jesus.
3. Our Lord took with Him only His humble circle of disciples as witnesses. Those simple fishermen had seen His humiliation; now they saw its offset. "Not many mighty, not many noble are called." Lady Huntington once wrote that she was accustomed, every time she met this verse, to "thank God for the letter M." What she meant was that, she (being a woman of rank) was not necessarily excluded from Divine grace, as she would have been, had the word been "any," not "many."
4. Christ paused at the final moment for a priestly act. He extended His hands; but there is no hint of His imposing them. He was blessing His disciples; He was in no sense mysteriously ordaining them. If any one asks what He said there is room for conjecture (Numbers 6:23).
5. There was great grace of suggestion in the gesture. When His hands were extended, all would see plainly the prints of the nails in His resurrection body. It was a most instructive lesson to learn; the Son of God showed "the marks — stigmas — of the Lord Jesus" at the moment of His coronation and advance to His throne.
6. Jesus left the field of His vast triumph without any display or fuss. All the pageants, all the hallelujahs, were reserved for the celestial city when the lawful Prince of glory came in. It is not everybody who is great enough to disappear when in the moment of success.
7. When our Lord returns, it will be with the same form of greeting (ver. 11). Then let all believers learn that the crown of a religious and Christ-like life is blessing; the symbol of Jesus' gospel is blessing; the very prediction of His coming again is blessing; the attitude He chooses is the silent grace of benediction.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
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.