In the 40 days after He resurrected from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His apostles and disciples — in their homes, on the road, by the shores of the lake . . . .
Every time, strangely, they at first did not recognize Him because He is transfigured — a mystery that will remain a mystery until, should we be so blessed, we ourselves are transfigured in our “glorified bodies” when we are resurrected from the dead at the end of this world.
How precious those times must have been which the apostles shared with their risen Lord!
And then, 40 days after His resurrection, His mission on Earth completed, Jesus bade His apostles a last farewell.
John 16:4-5, 28; 17:1, 4-5, 13
“I did not tell you this from the beginning,
because I was with you.
But now I am going to the one who sent me….
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father….”
When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come….
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began….
But now I am coming to you….”
Acts of the Apostles 1:8-9
“When he had said this,
as they were looking on,
he was lifted up,
and a cloud took him from their sight.”
Every time I read those passages from John 16, I weep — as I imagine how wrenching it must be for the Apostles to say goodbye to their Lord, master and friend forever.
But of course, Jesus would not just abandon His apostles — nor us.
John 14:19, 18, 16-17
“the world will not see me anymore . . .
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him,
for He lives with you
and will be in you.”
Not only did the Father send us the Holy Spirit, who lives with us and will be in us, Jesus also left us His Body and Blood:
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
How very much He must love us, in spite of ourselves . . . .
May the joy and peace of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, be with you!