Who Was With Jesus When He Ascended?

Who Was With Jesus When He Ascended? December 15, 2015

Who was there to watch Jesus in His ascension up to heaven?

The Ascension

The Ascension is very important to Christians because it ended Jesus’ earthly ministry, even though He still actively works in His church today since He is the Head of the church, but it signaled the beginning of the work of His disciples to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20). Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection, “he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God” (Luke 24:50-53). Luke alone records both examples from two different books. He mentions Jesus ascension, as we have read, in Luke 24 but also in the Book of Acts where Luke writes that “as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father but He is returning again someday and at a time when nobody expects.

Jesus Open’s their Minds

Who witnessed Jesus’ ascension? Where there only a select few of disciples or all of them? All we know is what Scripture tells us so we return again to Luke 24 find out who was present with Jesus prior to His Ascension. Luke 24:36b-39 says “Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” after which “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:45-47). Jesus opened the minds of His disciples and this usually refers to the twelve but at this time, there were only eleven since Judas had hanged himself and Matthias had not yet been selected to be the 12th disciple.

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Who was with Jesus?

Jesus had just given the disciples the Great Commission and would repeat it again just before His Ascension so “when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:6-8). Who were those who had come together? It was clearly the disciples because “when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). The “they” is the same “they” in the very last part of Luke 24 and in the first part of Acts 1. They are the disciples; the eleven who had witnessed the Ascension but they had also witnessed the resurrection too.

The disciples “returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James”(Acts 1:12-13). Here is a list by name of the “they” who were with Jesus at His Ascension. By the way, there is a possibility that Jesus’ mother Mary and His brothers may have witnessed the Ascension too because the disciples came “together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14b) when they returned to Jerusalem. On the other hand, they may have only been waiting in the upper room for the disciples to return or Mary and Jesus’ brothers might not even have known about the Ascension. Incidentally, the “upper room” is the same “upper room” where Jesus and His disciples had to Passover Meal on the night that He was betrayed.

Conclusion

The disciples all witnessed Jesus Ascension possibly Mary and Jesus’ brothers, of the latter part we can’t be certain but the angels told the disciples that “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11b) and that will be the most joyful experiences of the believer but the most horrific for those who have rejected and even scorned Him and used profanity against His name (Rev 20:12-15). God will not hold them guiltless who profane His holy name (Ex 20:7).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    “and that will be the most joyful experiences of the believer but the most horrific for those who have rejected and even scorned Him ”

    OH NO! Believe or else! Is this what you tell the little children jack? Do you fill them with terror and fear? Wouldn’t you consider that child abuse?

    There is NO 1st century eye witness testimony for ANY of the story you so willfully swallow without a second of critical thought. Every word (except the letters of Paul who was a psychotic) was made up by no name authors who ALL copied from whomever wrote the story book of Mark.

    Your jesus wrote nothing, left nothing, said nothing….it’s a made up wicked story altered, codified and scripted by the early wicked church. It is a cult jack. An absurd, ridiculous, nonsensical, made up story for delusional iron age peasants. Wake up jack…it’s not true…none of it

  • Tim Pike

    “Wake up…it’s not true…none of it”

    Well Pud, it certainly has a hold on you!
    Praying for you my friend.

    • pud

      Don’t waste your time…go pray for a pony instead

  • Sean Riley

    Christianity is PURE BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!! Please Stop Spreading LIES……..

  • Adam

    Jack, thanks for your insights on this post. Reading over the other discussion entries below, it’s interesting to me how enemies of Christ rise up in these forums. And people call Christians haters? Perspective… Jesus unquestionably loves ALL, and we are called to do the same. It’s a ploy of the enemy to draw us into pointless debates about the Word. You don’t believe it? Fine. We’ll pray for you (Sorry, pud, you can’t control whether we do that or not). You do believe it? Great! We’ll join with you. Simple as that.

    Funny how the same hatred-spewer is making entries on all these talking points (see suggested other reads below). For a non-believer, you’re sure spending a lot of your free time on these sites. Should we just let you express your beliefs? Yeah? Maybe you should do the same and stop trying to hate-smear something just because you don’t understand it.

  • Saberol

    May I say the following:

    1. If you believe that love is the greatest force in all of life, then you are not far from someone called Jesus who preached and practiced it. His enemies could not find fault in his teachings about love. So they sought his death by finding fault in his claims to be king, branding it as seditious and a challenge to the Roman Emperor.

    2. If you are patient and persevering, kind to others and genuinely care about their good; if you are humble and not self-seeking, do not delight in wrongdoing but is happy with the truth even when it hurts, then you have Jesus in your heart, and you in his, even if you don’t outwardly believe in him. Things become troublesome when in not believing in Jesus you also denigrate those who don’t believe as you do, calling them delusional.

    3. I have no doubt at all that Jesus embodied love itself – he preached it, lived it and died by it. He later rose from the dead to show to all that physical death is not the end but the beginning, and later went up to heaven from whence he had come, in order that ordinary men, you and I, could do the work he left us with, that of teaching those around us that the greatest force in life is indeed love, and that if you love others you are actually showing your love for God.

    5. Of course not everyone will accept this teaching. We can only pray for their conversion, even as we show in our lives our own example of living and practicing love, as Jesus taught. God Bless You.

  • PETER OSEWE

    You are wrong. The two men are Moses ND Elijah