Having coffee this morning made me think of Jesus’ ascension into the clouds – or heaven. Can you imagine hobnobbing with Jesus after his resurrection and all of a sudden, he’s flying through the air up through the clouds and is gone? I would be so excited that I’d probably wet my pants telling everyone about this awesome experience!
So, if the apostles “witnessed” Jesus’ ascension, why didn’t ALL of the gospel writers report it? Watching Jesus do miracles is okay, but to see Jesus ascend into heaven? Wow! But, only one out of four of the gospel writers even mentions it. Matthew doesn’t mention it. Mark does not mention it. And John, the most theological gospel writer, does not mention it. Only Luke mentions the ascension in both his gospel and his second volume of Acts.
If you are a King James Version advocate, you will see that the ending of Mark does mention the ascension. However, the last 12 verses of Mark (16:9-20) was not originally part of the gospel and was added decades or even centuries later. Most Bibles, like the NIV, will have a note before verses 16:9-20 that says something like, “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20” or something similar to that.
Check out your Bible and see what yours says. Some will have brackets around the verses and a footnote indicating that these verses are not in the earliest, most authentic manuscripts.
Last note… As I said, Luke is the only writer that mentions the ascension and he writes it at the end of his gospel and in the beginning of Acts. But, Luke writes the story in two different ways. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus meets with his disciples after his resurrection and then immediately ascends to the clouds (Luke 24:50-53). In Acts, Jesus meets with his disciples for 40 days prior to his ascension (Acts 1:1-11). Read your Bible! It’s there!
Another cup, please…