Thank you for your recent letter asking about the Teacherís final day. I am surprised that you seem to be the only person interested in recording those events in detail. As you know, I have related to others my part in some of the main events of his life and death; but until now nobody has shown an interest in those final hours.
You are, I am sure, quite familiar with the events immediately after he came back from the dead. Those first few days have been extensively recorded, and I am sure John will have more to say when he gets around to telling his side of the story. Those accounts, however, only cover about a week of his final forty days, and the first week at that. Other than one sentence in Peterís account (your acquaintance Mark being his amanuensis), the events beyond that first week are pretty much ignored.
Yes, he told us to meet him in Galilee. We traveled there, learned much from him, and then went back to Jerusalem. Such travel took a big chunk out of those forty days. (And, of course, the Teacher even spent much of that travel time telling us things.)
(There was an incident by the side of the sea that directly affects Peter, and started some rumors about John. I think, though, you should talk to John about that, if he is willing to say anything.)
After we got back to Jerusalem we spent most of our days on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. The Teacher loved that place, although it probably held some troubling memories for him, what with Judas and the Roman gang. Of course, the Teacher was big into prophecy, so he was well aware of what Ezekiel said about the Mount of Olives. But I think he also liked it because of the privacy. Only a Sabbath journey from the capital, it was a peaceful place. Olive trees are unlike many others. They offer shade, but also frame marvelous views of the city and the mountains. And they make decent benches to sit on while teaching. It was a natural place for the Teacher to spend time.
And it was a natural place for the events of that day. I already mentioned Ezekiel. That was one reason. This was where he had been betrayed, so in a sense it was a place where the Teacher had been taken away from us once already. And we had spent so much time here, not just in the past forty days, but in the past three years.
We thought we were just getting another lesson when the Teacher told us to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the father. Not that we understood what he was talking about; we often didnít. ďJohn immersed with water, but you will be immersed with the Ruach ha Kodesh, the Spirit of God, in just a few days.Ē On the night he was betrayed, the Teacher had spoken of sending a Comforter. Was this the same thing? And not many days from now.
I think it must have been Simon who asked if the Teacher was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. He really hated that we were under Roman rule. The Teacher replied that knowing the times and the seasons was not our responsibility. Instead, when we had the Ruach ha Kodesh, we would be his witnesses in to the Jewish people, the half-Jews, and the rest of the world. You know, Dr. Luke, all about that last part.
We were expecting him to explain all this, when suddenly he began to rise. That is really the only way I can describe it. Not exactly flying, just being taken up into the clouds. After all that talk about power, I felt a little like Elisha watching Elijah being taken away, except this time there was no whirlwind. We were in such shock that we just stood there, staring into the clouds.
Suddenly, two men in white stood beside us. They asked why we kept staring upward. Then they told us the Teacher would come back the same way he left. In a way, that was a comfort to us, although we are still waiting. We will continue waiting.
Thanks for asking. I hope this helps.
(From Acts 1:1-11)