And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.…
First, let us consider the TIME of the occurrence-of this event. This interval, also, was sufficient in order to afford Him an opportunity of detailing much that to them would be highly interesting, in relation to His kingdom, to the preaching of His gospel, and to the establishment of His empire through the world. Once more, He continued a sufficient period of time on earth in order to afford the strongest evidence of the love He bore to His Church and people; that He would not even take possession of the promised crown, nor enter upon "the joy set before Him," till He had ordered all things relating to His kingdom. We notice, in the second place, the SITE OR SPOT at which this occurrence took place. "He led them out as far as to Bethany." I pass on, in the third place, to consider the MANNER in which the ascent of our Lord Jesus Christ took place. You will observe, first, that it was while He prayed — "as He blessed them." Observe, again, that it was while they were listening to the interesting communications which our Lord had to impart. It belongs to this part of the subject to observe their solemn adoration of Him after that they saw Him no more. "He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven: and they worshipped Him." I hasten to the last point of our discourse — to consider THE GREAT ENDS AND OBJECTS OF THIS MOST IMPORTANT TRANSACTION. Christ has left our world — He is gone — He has gone to the mansions of heavenly glory; and for what purposes has He taken His departure. First, in order that He might celebrate a signal triumph over all His enemies. He has gone, secondly, to take possession of the well-earned reward, the stipulated recompense, to which His obedience and His suffering have so well entitled Him. Thirdly, He has gone to receive and to communicate that fulness which the Father had entrusted into His hands; and especially the gift of the Holy Ghost, which he bestows upon "the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." Fourthly, He has gone to ensure and prepare a place for all His believing followers. I only add that He has gone thus to heaven in order to give an example and specimen of the manner in which He will come again in the clouds of Heaven. And is He gone? and have the heavens received Him? Then, first, let us send our hearts after Him. Secondly, in the absence of our Lord, let us abide closely in the fellowship of His Church. Like the disciples, let us resort to the temple; like the disciples, let us keep together. Let us not be scattered and disunited. Thirdly, this subject should lead us to cherish a cheerful confidence with respect to our entrance into eternity. And let this soothe our spirits when we are mourning over our dead.
(G. Clayton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.