Jesus Christ Returns to the Father, Mark 16:19-20
God willing we will complete Dr. Dayton Hobbs extensive study of the Gospel of Mark and my brief contribution to it with this lesson.
We certainly thank Mrs. Norma Schmitz for her editing work on over 100 messages in this series, preparing them for placement on our web site, gracebiblechurchmilton.com.
Mark is the shortest of the Gospels with 16 chapters, Matthew the longest having 28 chapters, with Luke having 24 chapters and John having 21 chapters.
When we study Mark the usual experience will be to reference the other Gospel writers to fill in the details.
It seems that Mark is written in a fast-paced form and to the point, disregarding many details of events in order to highlight the identity and power of Jesus Christ.
And that has been the norm in our study of chapter 16.
So as we complete this Gospel study we find this to be the case in Markís last two verses where he tells us of our Lordís return to His Father in heaven for he relates this astounding event to us in just two verses.
Mark 16:19-20, So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Now unless you rightly divide the word and look for other accounts it is easy to think that Jesus Christ returned to the Father very soon after the resurrection and right after meeting with his disciples in Jerusalem.
We learn more fully that this was not the case for according to Acts 1 Christ showed himself alive to his followers for forty days after the resurrection and then was taken up to heaven.
Listen to Lukeís more detailed account in Acts 1:1-11, The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Now that is a jam packed promise-filled account of this breathtaking event. Jam packed - extremely crowded or full to capacity.
And we thank God for giving this to Dr. Luke so that we may also share in the awe and wonder that the disciples expressed that day as Christ ascended to the Father.
Dr. Luke tells us of 40 days of Bible School, he tells us of a coming Holy Ghost Baptism, a promise to receive power to be witnesses in all parts of the world and the wonderful promise that their Master will return to the world in like manner as He departed.
And Luke is careful to include the account of the angels in white apparel asking a question to the men of Galilee who stood there gazing, no doubt with mouths open and eyes wide.
Now apparently to the angels one rising up through the air was no big thing and they could not understand the reaction of the men of Galilee to what in their experience was such a common thing.
But because of this question the angels related the promise to them that Jesus would return in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Praise God for this promise for you and I and all those who look for his appearing have hope of seeing Christ ourselves and being present with him in eternity.
Now if the disciples had listened to Christ as they traveled the roads of Israel they would have known that Christ would leave them one day.
I suppose Peter and James and John and all the other disciples now remembered when Jesus said as John records in John 16:7,
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Jesus, as a man, confined himself to one place at a time but by leaving and returning to his home in Heaven he left himself in the heart of every believer by the promise of his Spirit, whom he called the Comforter.
His going away, he said, was expedient which means practical and beneficial for now every believer was filled with His presence and therefore He could say I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.
He also told them in John 14:2, In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
What a wonderful connection that God adds to His promise to never leave us or forsake us for in this we even have a place designated as our own in our fatherís house and for sure there is no mortgage nor is there any maintenance required.
No benefit package on earth can match this.
And another reason for Christ to return to the Father is the assumption of the duty of intercessor that Christ takes on, on the behalf of all who believe on Him.
The Apostle Paul writes of this in Romans 8:34, Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Yes, Jesus, by shedding his blood on the cross died for us and secured our salvation but by ascending into heaven and sitting at the right hand of God, the place where power sits, he is now able to keep us by interceding for us.
He is our advocate, interceding at the throne of God while Satan continues his accusations.
Jesus is the only mediator between God and man for no other can present to the father such precious blood.
And for this, Jesus rose on high worthy to be exalted and worshipped.
We have spoken in past lessons about a principle of God whereby Jesus instructed his disciples in Matthew 23:12, And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Christ came from the thrones of heaven and took on himself the form of a man.
In doing that this principle was followed for he did indeed humble himself but as promised exaltation resulted for we see this in his resurrection and his ascension.
God exalted the risen Christ by giving him the place of honor and power at His right hand.
Phil. 2:8-11, And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This exaltation is Godís recognition of His Son, Jesus Christ for completing the work resulting in the salvation of a people for Godís name, a people who will populate Godís house for eternity.
It is an exaltation that gives Jesus Christ dominion and power over all His enemies.