As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
The ‘taking up’ or the ‘assumption’ of Jesus refers to his passion and death leading to resurrection and ascension.
3 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:
3 “May the day of my birth perish,
and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’
11 “Why did I not perish at birth,
and die as I came from the womb?
12 Why were there knees to receive me
and breasts that I might be nursed?
13 For now I would be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep and at rest
14 with kings and rulers of the earth,
who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,
15 with princes who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,
like an infant who never saw the light of day?
17 There the wicked cease from turmoil,
and there the weary are at rest.
20 “Why is light given to those in misery,
and life to the bitter of soul,
21 to those who long for death that does not come,
who search for it more than for hidden treasure,
22 who are filled with gladness
and rejoice when they reach the grave?
23 Why is life given to a man
whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
We, too, must always live in hope. Some of our pains and sufferings are of a temporary nature and will go away. Others, such as terminal illness, we know cannot be taken away. Yet, here too, as experience has shown many times, total acceptance and inner peace is possible. And so many good things can come from pain. In my pain, I may experience the deep sympathy and compassion of people who might otherwise ignore me. My pain can help me to understand much better the pain of others and bring a healing compassion to their situation. A world totally free of pain could become a place of total selfishness and self-indulgence.
2 May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.
3 I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.
6 You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.[a]
8 You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[a]?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
We come today to a distinct turning point in Luke’s gospel. It is marked by the opening words of today’s passage: “When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” The ‘taking up’ or the ‘assumption’ of Jesus refers to his passion and death leading to resurrection and ascension. It corresponds to the ‘glory’ that John speaks of and for whom the crucifixion is a ‘lifting up’ into ‘glory’.
At this point we have now come to the end of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and we move on to a new section – the journey to Jerusalem which ends at chap. 18:27 where we find Jesus in Jerusalem. The opening corresponds to Mark 10:1 where Jesus is seen entering Judea to preach there and which John more specifically describes as a journey to Jerusalem during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:1-10)
But Luke diverges from Mark’s story with very different material. He now follows Matthew’s source as well as using material of his own. The section consists almost entirely of teachings of Jesus to his disciples. It is all loosely organized within the framework of Jesus making his way to Jerusalem. The section we are entering is a time of preparation for the disciples for their future role as Messengers of the Kingdom.
Jerusalem is the place where it is all going to happen – the ‘exodus’ of Jesus, including his suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension leading to the passing on of his mission to his disciples with the coming down of the Spirit of the Father and Jesus on the disciples
It is never Jesus’ way to destroy his enemies. We will see that clearly after he reaches Jerusalem where far worse things are done to him. Jesus’ purpose always is to change people who are against him, to defuse their hostility and help them to see things in a better way. It is something we could try to do more often. It is not at all the “softy’s” approach. On the contrary, it requires great inner strength and security.