Jesus Rose from the Dead—Now What?
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Luke 24:50-51
There are various accounts of Jesus’ final words to the disciples. He commissioned them (Matthew 28:18-20). He promised them the power of the Holy Spirit to become His witnesses (Acts 1:8-11). He lifted up his hands and blessed them (Luke 24:50-51).
Though Luke does not record Jesus’ words, His raised hands call to mind the way Aaron first offered the prayer God gave him through Moses to use in blessing Israel (Numbers 6:24-26). He lifted up his hands toward the people (Leviticus 9:22).
Did Jesus, as the disciples’ high priest, pray the familiar blessing God gave to Aaron?
The LORD bless you and keep you. (Numbers 6:24)
Aaron and his sons would have just offered the sin offering to God. Now Jesus, who had died the perfect, final sin offering asked God to bless and keep the disciples.
The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. (Numbers 6:25)
Aaron and his sons would have just offered the burnt offering of consecration. Jesus stood before His disciples on God’s behalf, consecrating them to serve in the grace that Jesus’ sacrifice had won for them.
The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:26)
Aaron and his sons would have just offered the peace offering. Jesus had promised peace to the disciples in the upper room at their last meal together (John 16:33). Could they see peace in Jesus’ face as He prayed? Later, Paul wrote, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Jesus Christ is praying in heaven right now for us (Hebrews 7:25) What blessings is He asking God to give you? Peace? Grace? God’s favor on your life? All of these things? Worship and praise God for Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, which brings all these blessings to us.
Read Hebrews 4:15-16, 7:23-26, and Jude 24. What do these verses indicate about Jesus’ prayers for us?
Read Psalm 67. According to verse 2, why does God bless us?
The priestly blessing may be found in our modern day equivalent, the benediction, which occurs at the end of some worship services.Often those who give the benediction raise their hands as they pray. Which of the following benedictions is most meaningful to you?Romans 15:13, Romans 16:25, 2 Corinthians 13:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Hebrews 13:20-21*
To read a devotion about the benediction in Hebrews 13:20-21, see Complete under Dig into Words.
Nancy J. Baker