Final thoughts on Mark 16:19-20
So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. NKJV
Mark’s gospel closes with the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ into heaven. In our text, we see three important aspects of the Lord’s ascension into heaven.
First, Jesus gave His disciples some final words of assurance and comfort. The gospel of Matthew gives us some details that are lacking in Mark’s account. Before He gave His disciples the great commission and ascended into heaven, He first reminded them of His authority (Matt. 28:20). As God in human flesh, there are no limits to His authority. He created and sustains all things (Jn. 1:3, Col. 1:16-17). He commands both heavenly angels and fallen angels (demons). He controls the weather (on several occasions He calmed storms). He healed the sick, cleansed lepers, and occasionally raised the dead. This great truth coupled with Jesus with Jesus promise of His continual presence with them (Matt. 28:20) is truly a source of great encouragement, and this promise applies to all of us as Christians (Heb. 13:5-6).
Second, the Lord’s ascension into heaven was a key event in human history. His ascension was a visible foreshadowing of His promised return (Acts 1:9-11), the crowning coronation of His authority as sovereign King (Eph. 1:19-22, Phil. 2:6-11), and the seat of His intercessory work as mediator on behalf of His people (Heb. 7:25).
Third, Jesus’ ascension provided for the arrival of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:16). It was necessary for Jesus to ascend so that the Holy Spirit would come (Jn. 14:25-26). As long as Jesus remained on earth in the restrictions of a human body, He would only be able to minister locally to those believers who were in His immediate physical presence (Jn. 20:17), but with the coming of the Holy Spirit He could minister to all believers wherever they were on planet Earth (Acts 1:8, Mat. 28:20). As New Testament Christians, we have a tremendous advantage that Old Testament believers did not have—the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Although the Holy Spirit would occasionally come upon Old Testament believers for limited periods of time to empower them for a specific task, He did not permanently indwell them as He does all New Testament Christians (Jn. 14:17, Rom. 8:9).
Do you have the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Have you repented of your sins and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ, who has risen, ascended, and been exalted as the majestic King of Kings as your personal Savior?