26 Apr. Luke 24:45-53

26 Apr. Jesus returns to his heavenly Father

"Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He said to them, 'It is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that a change of hearts and lives and forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations, starting at Jerusalem.'"

"'You are witnesses of these things, I will send you what my Father has promised, but you must stay in Jerusalem until you have received that power from heaven.'"

"Jesus then led his followers as far as Bethany, and he raised his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he was separated from them and carried into heaven."

"They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem very happy. They stayed in the Temple all the time praising God."

          (Luke 24:45-53)



Forty days after his bodily resurrection, Jesus led the disciples out of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives on the road to Bethany. He blessed them and was taken into God’s presence (‘heaven’) (see Acts 1:6-9). This day – Thursday 18th May 30AD – is remembered annually by Christians as ‘Ascension Day’. 

The ‘Ascension’ of Jesus is recorded only by Luke, and in some later versions of Mark’s gospel. The later addition to Mark’s gospel does not give a specific location for the ‘Ascension’, though the implication is that it occurred in Jerusalem.

Luke, however, records that the ‘Ascension’ took place on the Mount of Olives, a ‘Sabbath day’s journey’ (two thousand paces) from the city towards Bethany (see Luke 24:50 & Acts 1:12).

In 326AD, Emperor Constantine's mother, Empress Helena, identified the site of the ‘Ascension’ as being adjacent to a small cave on the upper slopes of the Mount of Olives. The church she built here was destroyed in 614AD, and the Pater Noster ('Our Father') Church currently occupying this site was built in the 1860s.

Towards the end of the 4th century, commemoration of the ‘Ascension’ moved to the summit of the Mount of Olives, where Poimenia built a small circular church whose centre was open to the sky. The Crusaders built an octagonal church on this site, which later became the Mosque of the Ascension.

The Church of the Ascension built in the 1870s, with its square tower crowning the summit of the Mount of Olives, belongs to a Russian Orthodox convent, and its museum houses remains of a 5th century Byzantine mosaic from a funerary chapel.

The photo shows the Mount of Olives seen in the distance from the sacred steps leading into the Old City of Jerusalem.

You can read more about how Jesus was taken back into God's presence @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/jesus-is-taken-into-gods-….

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