Most folk prefer a story to have a happy ending and this is how Luke concluded the first section of his two-part account of the birth and growth of the early Church. “They returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52).
For one thing, the first disciples learned that the Jesus who had conquered death and returned to the Father was the same understanding Lord whom they had known in Galilee, as the conversation on the way to Emmaus demonstrated.
The other cause for their joy was that no more would they be separated from their Master. Delivered from the limitations of space and time His word now was: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Whom seeing not, they could still love (1 Pet. 1:8).
We can also share this first century joy. First of all, the ascended Jesus never forgot what it was to be a man. What He learned by the things He suffered He never unlearned. We who are His followers can count ourselves blessed that He who returned to the Father shared our lot.
It pleased God as Man with man to dwell. Before that God was in heaven,
“dwelling in the light which no man can approach” (1 Timothy 6:16 KJV). To Greek minds God was more remote still. They conceived God as impassible—that is, beyond or incapable of feeling. But with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ there is no sorrow common to man which He has not shared.
A doctor may know what is the matter with me and yet not be able to effect a cure. My assurance lies in the title given to the ascended Christ of “Great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14). Our Great High Priest is both fully in touch with God and fully in touch with man. Jesus brings our multitude of needs to the plenitude of grace. Supply always exceeds demand! Seated “on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1) is not a physical description of the place of Jesus but a theological statement concerning the power at His disposal from which He can meet the need of all who call upon His name.
So far as our earthly struggles are concerned Jesus has been here. He has passed this way before. He knew—and still knows—the way we take. And our Great High Priest also knows how best to help us hold fast our profession.
“Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Frederick Coutts, In Good Company