Final Appearances, and Pentecost 33 C.E.
AT SOME point Jesus makes arrangements for all 11 of his apostles to meet him at a mountain in Galilee. Other disciples are apparently told about the meeting, and a total of more than 500 people assemble. What a happy convention this proves to be when Jesus appears and begins teaching them!
Among other things, Jesus explains to the large crowd that God has given him all authority in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore,” he exhorts, “and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”
Think of it! Men, women, and children all receive this same commission to share in the disciple-making work. Opposers will try to stop their preaching and teaching, but Jesus comforts them: “Look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” Jesus remains with his followers by means of the holy spirit, to help them fulfill their ministry.
Altogether, Jesus shows himself alive to his disciples for a period of 40 days following his resurrection. During these appearances he instructs them about the Kingdom of God, and he emphasizes what their responsibilities are as his disciples. On one occasion he even appears to his half brother James and convinces this onetime unbeliever that He is indeed the Christ.
While the apostles are still in Galilee, Jesus evidently instructs them to return to Jerusalem. When meeting with them there, he says to them: “Do not withdraw from Jerusalem, but keep waiting for what the Father has promised, about which you heard from me; because John, indeed, baptized with water, but you will be baptized in holy spirit not many days after this.”
Later Jesus meets again with his apostles and leads them out of the city as far as Bethany, which is located on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. Amazingly, despite everything he has said about his soon departing for heaven, they still believe that his Kingdom will be established on earth. So they inquire: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
Rather than try again to correct their misconceptions, Jesus simply answers: “It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction.” Then, stressing once again the work they must do, he says: “You will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.”
While they are still looking on, Jesus begins rising heavenward, and then a cloud obscures him from their sight. After dematerializing his fleshly body, he ascends to heaven as a spirit person. As the 11 continue gazing into the sky, 2 men in white garments appear alongside them. These materialized angels ask: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from you into the sky will come thus in the same manner as you have beheld him going into the sky.”
The manner in which Jesus has just left the earth is without public fanfare and with only his faithful followers observing. So he will return in like manner—without public fanfare and with only his faithful followers discerning that he has returned and has begun his presence in Kingdom power.
The apostles now descend the Mount of Olives, cross the Kidron Valley, and enter Jerusalem once again. They remain there in obedience to Jesus’ command. Ten days later, at the Jewish Festival of Pentecost 33 C.E., while about 120 of the disciples assemble in an upper room in Jerusalem, a noise just like that of a rushing stiff breeze suddenly fills the whole house. Tongues as if of fire become visible, and one sits upon each of those present, and the disciples all begin to speak in different languages. This is the outpouring of the holy spirit that Jesus had promised! Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:49-52; 1 Corinthians 15:5-7; Acts 1:3-15; 2:1-4.
▪ To whom does Jesus give parting instructions at a mountain in Galilee, and what are these instructions?
▪ What comfort does Jesus provide for his disciples, and how will he remain with them?
▪ For how long after his resurrection does Jesus appear to his disciples, and what does he teach them?
▪ To what person who was evidently not a disciple before Jesus’ death does Jesus appear?
▪ What two final meetings does Jesus have with his apostles, and what occurs on these occasions?
▪ How is it that Jesus will return in the same manner as he departs?
▪ What occurs at Pentecost 33 C.E.?