Christ’s Ascension—‘The 40th Day of Easter’

May 21, 2018: Today is Ascension Day, (forty days after Easter), on which, as the name of the festival implies, we commemorate the ascension of our Lord into heaven, forty days after His resurrection.

The Ascension—by Rev. F. N. and M. A. Peloubet; 1882:

“From Mount Olivet, near Bethany, Thursday, May 18, A.D. 30. It is well always to remember that while the cross is the central point of Christ’s mission, yet the last view we have of Christ is not on the cross, but as a risen and ascending Saviour, leaving a promise of His abiding spiritual presence and care, and a promise to return again. It was at this time, doubtless, that the great change came over His body, which: described in 1 Cor. 15: 51-53. Why did Christ leave His disciples to work out the kingdom of God?

  1. By Christ’s ascension we see His true nature, as divine;
  2. That He may be the omnipresent Saviour of all men alike;
  3. That we may be taught to live by faith, and not by sight; ¹
  4. To train us up into His character by doing His work;
  5. He has gone to prepare a place for us, ¹ as well as us for the place. We must remember that He is personally present, only invisible, and that He has sent the Holy Spirit to guide, teach and give power.

What did Christ do during the 40 days after His Resurrection? See Acts 1: 3

We have the record of only eleven times that Jesus appeared to His disciples during 40 days. Why was He not with them all the time?; Dr. Robert Tuck says, “The 40 days in the resurrection-body was Christ’s great effort to help the disciples to realize that He was a spiritual Messiah, a spiritual Saviour. The contrast between relations with Christ, seen as a fellowman, and Christ unseen, apprehended only by thought and love, was too vast and too abrupt. So He stayed on earth those 40 days, always present, but sometimes seen and sometimes unseen.

Those disciples felt that any moment He might come into the sphere of their vision, and so they were helped to realize that He was always close, near; and they were prepared for the time when they would no longer have any sensible helps and manifestations.”

To accomplish this it was needful:

  1. That He should appear often enough to give perfect proof that He was alive and the same Jesus they had known before.
  2. That they should be trained to a realization of His divine nature and spiritual presence.
  3. That by the ascension there should be an unbroken connection between the visible and the invisible manifestations.”—Select Notes; Rev. Francis Nathan Peloubet (1831-1920); Mrs. Alice Peloubet Norton; International Sunday School Lessons; 1890.


1. To Mary Magdalene alone (Mark 16:9. John 20:11-18), near Jerusalem, — Sunday, April 9.

2. To the women returning from the sepulchre (Matthew 28:9-10), near Jerusalem, — Sunday, April 9.

3. To Simon Peter alone (Luke 24:34), near Jerusalem, — Sunday, April 9.

4. To the two disciples going to Emmaus (Luke 24:15), etc.), — Sunday, April 9.

5. To the apostles at Jerusalem, excepting Thomas, who was absent (John 20:19), — Sunday, April 9.

6. To the apostles at Jerusalem a second time, when Thomas was present (John 20: 26-29), — Sunday, April 16.

7. At the Sea of Tiberias, when seven disciples were fishing (John 21:1).

8. To the eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:17).

9. To above 500 brethren at once (1 Cor. 15:6), in Galilee, near the time of the last.

10. To James only (1 Cor. 15:7).

11. To all the apostles on Mount Olivet at His ascension (Luke 24:51)

Acts 1:6-11 (read more here)

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Instances of the #40 in the Bible.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:3