Ascension of Jesus
they returned to Jerusalem with great joy
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24, 50–53)
Though i might have heard/read this passage quite a few times, that word “returned with great joy” never struck me before. First immediate contrast is with the attitude of the disciples after his arrest/death, which was a complete dejection. Its true that after the resurrection of Jesus and his apparitions, the disciples knew that the status of Jesus is no more dead.
They saw the ascension of Jesus and they returned with great joy. They prayed for a few days, which was followed Pentecost and the start of the mission of the apostles. But why they were happy, even though the presence of Jesus was no more with them? You can justify it in various ways. I am not going to enter into those responses here. Do you have similar experiences in life?
- When you or your friend change the location, and sometimes, there is less (very less) chances of meeting again. But along with sadness, many a times, we also experience a sense of joy/gratitude for that friendship/relationship….
- In the death of a few people, along with sadness, we do experience a certain joy/gratitude for having known that person and for the experiences with him/her.
Yes, though ascension is difficult to imagine or understand, there are experiences in human life, which does echo with the experience of ascension. And even our joys or moments of hope/gratitude in the life do have some echoes with that joy of the disciples after the ascension of Jesus.