Lord Jesus, bless us; even us do thou bless! Amen.
Luke 24, 50-52. Acts 1, 13-14. And he led them out as far as to Bethany. and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
While in the act of blessing his disciples Jesus was carried up to heaven. It is as one who dispenses blessings that he sits on the right hand of God; it is thus that the disciples see him with the eye of faith. and this is the picture of him on which our minds should dwell. Then we have a true picture of him in our soul; for his hands are lifted up day and night to bless the church. What does he do on his throne of glory save to bless his people? He lifts up his hands to intercede for us, and to protect us; and he gives us his Holy Spirit. The priestly blessing of the fathers on their children was of great effect: the words of blessing pronounced by Noah on Shem and Japheth brought them good fortune, while his curse brought disaster to Ham: the old and blind Isaac blessed Jacob, and thus made him a lord over his brother; the blessing of Jacob made Judah the chief among his brethren; — how great, then, must be the power of the blessing which Jesus pronounces on his church! Through the Spirit, whom he sends from the Father in the word and sacraments, he bestows upon us heavenly gifts; life of his own life, celestial light, power which is stronger than death, and a peace which passes understanding. For the blessing of the Lord is not idle words, nor a meaningless motion of the hand; when his hands are lifted up to bless they are full of life and strength and every good gift, which they drop down into the souls of those whom he blesses.
The fellowship in prayer among the disciples in Jerusalem is itself one of the results of the Lord’s blessing. They all prayed with one accord, and they continued without ceasing until they received the Pentecost gift. Let us do likewise! Alas, we are in such sore need of the fire of Pentecost, the baptism of the Spirit! But we may receive it. Here we are, a gathering of disciples; and the Lord lifts up his hands to bless us, and we keenly feel the need of having the power of the Holy Ghost in greater measure. “Come, Holy Spirit, power divine, and fill this hungry heart of mine; Thou seest how in tears I stand, And ask a blessing of thy hand. In every need my comfort be; Refresh my soul, and strengthen me.” Shall not the Lord, then, give us his Spirit? Let us, however, pray with one accord, and cling to his promise that he will send us the Holy Ghost; let us desire that only which he promises to give; and let us continue in prayer until we receive. Let these last days before Pentecost be a time of fellowship during which the whole church of God prays as with one voice!
Open our eyes, Lord Jesus, that in faith we may see thee as thou art in thy glory; in that thou dost bless us with thy wounded hands. Give us grace to pray with one accord and continually; and give us, O, do give us the Pentecost blessing, that we may receive the gift of love into our hearts, and joyfully confess thy name. Amen.
Him though highest heaven receives,
Still he loves the earth he leaves;
Though returning to his throne,
Still he calls mankind his own.
See, he lifts his hands above!
See, he shows the prints of love!
Hark, his gracious lips bestow
Blessings on his church below!