38 — The Final Visit.

The Final Visit.

Read St.  Luke xxiv.  48-50.

[48] And you are witnesses of these things. [49] And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high. [50] And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them.

1.  Our Lord’s last appearance to His apostles was at Jerusalem.  He seems to have talked long with them on this occasion, and to have opened their minds to a right understanding of the Scriptures, and to have explained to them their future mission.  Yet even to the last their notions were confused and hazy, and they still clung to the ideas of a temporal kingdom, and asked, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  So slow are men to be rid of worldly hopes and aspirations, or to recognize that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world.

2.  After Our Lord’s discourse He led them out as far as Bethany, still conversing with them, and instructing them in the work they were to do.  How they hang on every word with a sort of presentiment that He is going to leave them!  At length they reach the Garden of Gethsemani and ascend the Hill of Olivet.  All at once He is transfigured before their eyes, and a light far brighter than the sun surrounds them; and Jesus in the midst raises His hand to bless them, as they remain in an ecstasy of joy and fear, and wonder and delight.

3.  At the same time they see around them a countless number of angels come to welcome their king and their God, and hear the music of heaven and angelic strains; while in the midst their Lord, now radiant with Divine beauty and glory and majesty, is raised above the ground.  The vision of Him makes them forget all else, and ravishes their souls as He pronounces the solemn words of benediction.  That one moment was enough to compensate them for all they had suffered.  How much more will the first moment of heaven make all earthly afflictions seem as nothing.

Challoner note to verse [49] The promise of my Father: that is, the Holy Ghost, whom Christ had promised that his Father and he would send, John 14. 26, and 17. 7.


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