Ascension of Our Lord: Luke 24:44–53
Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
v44 Ειπεν δε προς ουτους "He said to them" - Some scholars suggest this introduces a new scene, possibly Jesus' farewell words to his disciples before the ascension.
ων (ειμι) pres. part. "while I was [still]" - adverbial, probably forming a temporal clause, Jesus has always been just a visitor with us. We can now visit with him.
πληρωθηναι (πληροω) aor. pas. inf. "be fulfilled" - infinitive forms a noun clause, subject of the verb "is necessary." The gospel begins "the time is fulfilled"
τα γεγραμμενα (γραφω) - perf. pas. part. "that is written" - adjectival, limiting "everything must be fulfilled" often used in the binding legal documents, the authority of
ψαλμοις (ος) "the Psalms" Given that Jesus mentions "the Law and the Prophets" it is possible that the third section of scripture, "the Writings" which includes Psalms is intended.
v45 διηνοιξεν (διανοιγω) aor. "he revealed" Sometimes argued as the giving of the Spirit in line with John's gospel, Pentecost then is the empowering of the Spirit.
tou sunienai (sunihmi) pres. inf. "so they could understand" - the genitive infinitive forms a ‘final clause’ expressing purpose or a ‘consecutive clause’ expressing result.
v46 ουτως adv. "this is what [is written]" - thus referring to the content of the scriptural teaching concerning Christ or possibly causal, i.e. "because the scripture must be fulfilled".
παθειν (πασχω) aor. inf. "will suffer" - As with "rise" and "will be preached", the infinitive may be classified as forming a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what has been written, namely "that the messiah will suffer ....." The accusative τον χριστον serves as the subject of the infinitive. It is best translated in the future tense. Luke here gives a summary of the scriptural teaching concerning the messiah – that he suffers, rises and is proclaimed.
αναστηναι (ανιστημι) aor. inf. "rise" - resurrection is always difficult to source in scripture. Acts refers to Ps.16:10 and 110.1.
v47 μετανοιαν (α) "repentance" - not feeling sorry but a change of will or direction, a turning from self to Christ.
αμαρτιων (α) gen. "of sins" - genitive is usually treated as verbal but can also be viewed as adjectival limiting "forgiveness" by making it more specific.
κηρυχθηναι (κηρυσσω) aor. inf. "will be preached" – the infinitive as with παθειν, "to suffer", cf. v46.
αρξαμενοι (αρξω) aor. part. "beginning [at Jerusalem]" - adverbial, modal; best understood as "the mission will start in Jerusalem."
v48 υμεις "you" – emphatic - "You are the ones who must bear witness to both my crucifixion and my resurrection."
v49 egw pres. pro. "I" - Emphatic by use and by position. Jesus does the sending and begins the age old debate as to whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, or from the Father and the Son
αποστελλω pres. "am going to send" - present tense is obviously futuristic, but expresses continued action, ie. the bestowal of the gift is ongoing.
του πατρος (ηρ ρος) gen. "[what my] Father [has promised]" - usually taken as a verbal genitive, subjective, "the promise made by my Father", as NIV, but the ablative, is also possible; "the promise from my Father."
καθισατε (καθιζω) aor. imp. "stay" – an imperative
endushsqe (enduw) aor. pas. subj. "you have been clothed with" – (may be clothed) descriptive language of the gift of the Spirit,.
δυναμιν (ις εως) "power" - Sometimes translated as a definite noun. Is this a gift of power or a gift of the powerful one? The words δυναμις and πνευμα, "spirit", are virtually synonymous terms since power is what the Spirit supplies. As far as the fulfilment of scripture is concerned, the promise of the new covenant is more the gift of the divine presence than the divine power.
v50 επαρας τας χειρας "he lifted up [his] hands" - attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "blessed".
ευλογησεν (ευλογεω) aor. "he blessed [them]"
v51 εν τω + inf. "while he was blessing [them]" - The preposition εν with the articular infinitive forms a temporal clause contemporaneous time; "while, during ..."
διεστη (διιστημι) aor. "he left" - went away, moved on, went on, departed, separated [from them]. A rare word with unclear meaning; this story is usually depicted as Jesus ascending on a cloud with hands raised for blessing. The verb indicates nothing as to how he departs only that he "went away." Luke describes the ascension in Acts 1:9.where we find mention of a cloud and the use of verbs which imply upward movement, but is it Jesus himself going upward or is it the cloud which "hid him from their sight"? It is quite possible Jesus is enveloped in a cloud, obviously the shekinah glory of God and that the cloud then drifts away! Not as exciting as raising someone through the drop ceiling of the sanctitorium!
και ανεφερετο ειν τον ουρανον "was taken up into heaven" - Arguments abound as to why some manuscripts have this clause and others don't. Some argue it was removed to deal with a contradiction between the gospel and Acts (which, after all, have the same author). Others argue it was added when the gospel was separated from Acts. If added, (which seems likely) then what we have here is a resurrection appearance which ends with Jesus leaving his disciples. It serves as the end of the gospel, with the ascension being described in the first chapter of Acts.
v52 προσκυνησαντες (προσκυνεω) aor. part. "then they worshiped [him]" – the participle is adverbial, and not found in all manuscripts.
v53 δια παντος "[they stayed] continually" - a shortened version of δια παντος χρονου, "through all time" i.e. "continually." This doesn't mean that they were in the temple continually, rather that the disciples continued with their practice of temple worship. As the years passed, the liberty of the gospel began to free them from liturgical duties.
ευλογουντες (ευλογεω) pres. part. "praising [God]" - participle is adverbial expressing the manner of their attendance at the temple.