Saturday, February 2nd,
rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson
he blessed them...he was parted from them..." (Luke 24:51)
This is one of the final verses in Luke's
Gospel, but one of the most central. Jesus went with the disciples "as far as Bethany, and lifted up his hands, and blessed them" (vs 50). Bethany means "house of
sorrow". That was not coincidental. Jesus parted earth from the "house of
sorrow". All that follow Him to heavenly places make sorrow their launching pad
as well. He was "parted from them", separated, severed, as though the air
balloon's ropes were cut. That is one of life's toughest experiences, letting
go. They "looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up" (Acts 1:10). Peter
and the boys didn't take their eyes off the skies for a minute, like moms
watching and waving as their children's taillights fade in the distance. Our
hearts have pounded like that, "If I could only see him or see her one more
The disciples had one luxury though. "While"
Jesus blessed them "he was parted". That means they could still hear His voice
after they lost His image. The Person became fuzzy then was swallowed by the
clouds, yet words continued to flow. Unable to see, they could still faintly
hear. Like Abel, "he being dead yet speaketh" (Heb 11:4), Jesus, though parted,
continues to bless. Dad is gone but the memories still speak. Old classmates
have gone on to college and raised kids of their own but happy voices still
echo in the halls of the heart. At least the disciples got to say goodbye in
person. It is difficult, no near impossible, for the parent parted from a
teenager in an auto accident, or a military bride whose only goodbye is a visit
from the chaplain and a folded U.S. flag. In those times you have to hold on to
words. What was the last thing he said in that phone call? Jesus'
parting words were encouraging words, no doubt. Notice, he "lifted his hands,
and blessed them". Those hands still had fresh nail prints, a reminder of His
covenant, a reminder of His love.
You would expect it to be a sad occasion, I
mean, Bethany does mean "house of sorrows". But the next verse beams, "They
worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy..." Praising in parting?
No, not because of the loss but because of the gain. Jesus promised, "If I go
away, I will also come again..." (John 14:3 paraphrase). They had seen Him vanish
before (vs 31). That is the problem with earthly friendship; no one gets to
stay quite long enough. But finally they understood that vanishing does not
mean banishing. Love does not require a body to squeeze, though it sure helps.
They still had His words. Paul has been parted for twenty centuries, but Romans
and Galatians and Ephesians are still talking. Moody and Wesley and Spurgeon
have blended in with the clouds, but I still feel their spirit, passion and
heart whenever I reach for them on my bookshelf. Parting, what a painful rip to
the emotions, but remembering, what a sweet taste to the lips. That is why they
had "great joy". They knew a love like Christ's could not be quenched by time
or distance. Vanished, maybe, vanquished, never. And so we wait for the second
coming. It may be today, it may be tomorrow, it may be by and by. But until
"until" comes we can at least fine tune our hearing and listen for the High
Priest's bells beyond the veil. And remember, "blessed are they who do not see,
and yet believe". I believe.