Although Mark closes his gospel with a brief mention of it, Luke reports it twice, once in greater detail, writing to Theóphilos both times. Perhaps Theóphilos was intrigued with what he read in the evangélion and wanted to know more, so Luke obliged him in the opening words of his book of the acts of the apostles, the práxeis.
It was angels, not men, who gave its name to this other most hidden mystírion of the Lord Jesus, when they said to the disciples who were looking up in awe, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, οὗτος ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὁ ἀναληφθεὶς ἀφ’ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν,
this same Jesus will come back in the same way you have seen Him go there.”
ὁ ἀναληφθεὶς—o analiphtheís, he who has been taken up—the source of the name of this mystery—ἡ ἀνάληψις—i análipsis, the Ascension.
“Will wonders never cease?” was probably the cynical retort of unbelievers when the holy apostles and the Lord’s mother came running back into town with the news. Wasn’t it enough that these dreamers, racked with grief, had made up the tale of the rising from the dead of the imposter? Now this!
The words of the Son of Man had circumcised the ears of those who would listen, preparing them for the blood atonement that He was to suffer and offer to His heavenly Father, sprinkling them with it, as Moses had sanctified the children of Yisrael in the wilderness, only this time, not figuratively, but in spirit and truth.
The deeds of the Son of Man had unthroned the worthy in their own eyes and restored to favor in the eyes of His Father those of low estate, those the others called unworthy, people like His own mother and brothers.
No, O world of men! Neither His rising from the dead nor this, His ascent into heaven to be seated at the right hand of Divine Majesty, are lies. Christ is risen from the dead, not merely was raised, but is risen, He who speaks to us now and always, who was, who is, and who is to come, the Pantokrátor, He who was dead but is alive, and alive forever.
“Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way you have seen Him go there,” just as the angels told us.
His ascent to the Father did not inaugurate an absence, but a hidden presence—hidden from the eyes of the world, but revealed to all who trust in Him as an abiding presence, to all who believe His word,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.
And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”