Mount Of Ascension
Dear reader, we have now come to the Mount of Ascension, or the Son of God ascending to the right hand of the Father. We read that while He yet talked to them He was taken up out of their sight into heaven. We read in Acts 1:9-12: “And when he had spoken these things while they beheld he was taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight! and while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, 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. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day’s journey.”
The beauty of this mountain is this that the feet of the blessed Son of God stood on Mount Olivet up to the last minute that He stood on the earth. The last tracks that Jesus ever made were on Mount Olivet. When He left Olivet He went back to the right hand of the Father. He had been in this country for more than thirty years on a mission that meant everything on earth to us, for it was the plan or scheme of human redemption. He had conquered the world and the flesh and the devil, and had redeemed us and bought us with His blood. Now He is ready to leave this world and go back to the right hand of the Father. He led the disciples out to Mount Olivet and lifted up His hands and blessed them, and while he blessed them He was parted from them and taken up into heaven.
We can imagine just what kind of a time it was to Him to arrive at His home one more time and behold His throne that had been vacant for more than thirty years. I wonder just what the angels did when he arrived at the gates of the Beautiful City. Of course He was not a stranger to them, but He had been away on the most interesting mission that a man ever went on, and He had been gone for thirty years. But He did not go back just as He came down, for He took five wounds with Him. He had the nail prints in His hands, and the prints of the spikes through His feet, and the spear print in His side, and I imagine that the angels stood and looked on in amazement and wondered what He had been through while He was out on the mission for us. Well, I suppose that while He told of the redemption of man the angels stood breathless. That was something new to them, for such a thing had never been heard of before until that day. But man who was lost and ruined by the fall and ruled by the devil, was bought back, and the way opened up whereby man might be restored to perfect harmony with God. Man and his Creator could once more be reconciled, the one to the other. That was all provided for before the Christ ever walked off from the mountain top. He would have been here until now if He had not provided a remedy, but thank God, the remedy was provided, and man went out free and happy as a lark if he would accept the redemption provided by the blessed Son of God while He hung on the cross of Calvary.
When we think of all that took place in the life of Christ on the mountains of this earth, it is wonderful. We remember that He met the devil in His awful temptation on the mountain, and He preached the greatest sermon that the world ever heard or ever will hear on the top of the mountain, and He prayed all night on the mountain top and called His Apostles next morning, and He went to the top of Calvary with the cross on His shoulder to die for us, and He was transfigured on the mountain top, and He gave the commission to the disciples from the top of the mountain in Galilee. And now we see Him going back to the right hand of the Father from the mountain top.
These are among the greatest incidents in the life and death of Christ who came into a world on the most blessed mission that was ever heard of, and lived the most unselfish life that was ever heard of, and died the most cruel death that was ever heard of, and loved man so well that he was willing to let man put Him to death, and then to die for the fellow who killed Him. The world tried to disgrace Him, and His life was so pure and spotless that disgrace would not stick to Him. His life was like the sunshine. The sun can shine all day on the mudhole in the road and at night withdraw itself without a blotch on it. The people said everything in the world about Him that was bad, and they accused Him of everything in the world that was bad, and He never disputed anything that was ever told on Him, and today three worlds believe Him to be innocent and the three worlds believe the world to be guilty. His life was as high above the life of men as the mountain tops are above the valleys. No comparison at all; one on the top and the other on the bottom. As we see Him ascending the clouds we wonder what has become of the disgrace that was heaped on Him. The people said, “We heard Him say that He could destroy this temple and build it in three days,” and they said that they heard Him say that He was the Son of God, and they said that they heard Him blaspheme, and they rent their clothes and cried out, “Away with him;” but after they had done all that a set of sin-cursed people could do — put Him to death, and put Him in the tomb, and put the stone over the mouth of the grave, and put the Roman soldiers there to guard it — on the third day after the crucifixion, we see Him get up and walk out of the tomb and we see the Roman soldiers tumbling over each other and falling like dead men.
In a few days we look up and behold, He is walking on the clouds and going back to the Father, and the High Priest and the Roman soldiers are just as helpless as the rest of us. But thank God, the little crowd that followed Him to Mount Olivet are as happy as the larks in the meadow and they have a shine on their faces and they have a promise that the rest of the folks haven’t got. They come back to the city and go to the upper room and begin one of the most interesting prayer meetings that the world ever heard of, and they know that something will happen, for He said to them as He went up, “Behold I send the promise of the Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. You were born of the flesh and were born of the Spirit, and have been baptized with water, and must be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” They knew that something was awaiting them, and so when the blessing did not get in on the first day they waited till the second, and till the third, and so on till the Day of Pentecost. They knew that there was something coming to them from on high, and bless the Lord, they waited for it and got it, and it was the blessed Holy Ghost.