Luke 24:46-53 The Ascension And Commission.
It was the collective testimony of the scriptures concerning the Messiah that “it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day” (v. 46). This is part of what Jesus had been teaching the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. The common conception of the Messiah’s kingdom was political and military-the idea of Him suffering and dying and rising then on the third day, was not in the common conception. Jesus, in His teaching of the disciples to the very end, in particular on this subject, was fulfilling the role as Prophet, and the work that this verse highlights speaks to His role as Priest. Both these roles colour His role as King. Jesus will indeed ascend to reign as King, but He will do so having also fulfilled the offices of Prophet and Priest. This is a reign which He began and continues to exercise, in this case through the ministry of the church-the preaching of the gospel of repentance and remission of sins “in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (v. 47).
Jesus commissioned His disciples to be witnesses of the historical events which they saw, and of the teaching which they heard (v. 48). However, though Jesus would soon finally physically leave this earth to ascend to His throne, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower His church in the task of the great commission (v. 49), and He also blessed them (v. 50). It was while pronouncing His blessing upon them for this work, that He ascended to the heavenly throne (v. 51 Cf. Mk. 16:19). “And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen” (vv. 52-53 Cf. Mt. 28:9). It is this event which Peter recalled when he and the other apostles were on trial-the gospel, the ascension, and the giving of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:31-32), and again while preaching to Cornelius (Acts 10:43). This also became Paul’s message (Acts 13:38-41; 17:3). They would indeed become His witnesses (Acts 1:8), even as Joel predicted (Joel 2:28).