“And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.” Luke 24:51
How touching and instructive was the parting interview! Oh, how worthy of Himself was this His final blessing! How harmonious with every previous act of His life was this its closing one! Blessing to the last, and while with outstretched hands that blessing was yet breathing from His lips, “received up into glory.” Oh, how full of grace and love is our adorable Immanuel! What a heart of overflowing tenderness and blessing is His!
Knowing this, knowing it from observation and from experience, supported by the innumerable proofs which crowd every page of the New Testament, is it not a marvel that we should seek our blessing from any other source than Jesus, or that we should breathe our sighs, or pour our sorrows, or repose our aching head, on any other bosom than His? Ah! our acquaintance with Him- our best, our dearest, our most loving Friend- is so limited, we walk with Him so coldly, we follow Him so distantly, we believe in Him so feebly; the greatest wonder is; that in the midst of all, His patience forbearance, tender and unchangeable love, towards us should still be so unwearied and so great.
But who can describe the parting interview and the last blessing? Clustering around Him a lonely timid band, saddened as they must have been by the thought that they were about to separate forever on earth from Him whom they loved- as many of them afterwards proved- better than life itself- to whom they had been wont to look for guidance, on whom they had leaned for strength, and to the shelter of whose bosom they had fled in danger and in sorrow, they needed His blessing- they needed that which none but Jesus could give to them. They were oppressed, and He only could undertake for them. They were in sorrow, and He only could comfort them. They were tried and perplexed, and He only could sustain and counsel them.
And what, may we suppose, would that blessing contain, which He now breathed over them? The richer anointing of the Spirit to fit them for their work- a larger measure of grace to shield them in temptation, and to uphold them in trial- increased light in the understanding respecting the spiritual nature of His kingdom, and the meaning of the Holy Scriptures of truth; and- what to them, at that moment, would be of unspeakable preciousness- a deeper discovery of His own pardoning love, a fuller assurance of their personal acceptance in Himself, and a richer bestowment of the “peace of God, which passes all understanding.” Thus blessing, He was “parted from them, and carried up into heaven,” to intercede for them there; and thus blessed, “they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,” to spread the fragrance and to manifest the power of His name through all the world.