What Transpired in the 10 Days between Ascension and Pentecost?

Britt Mooney

Contributing Writer
Published May 15, 2024
What Transpired in the 10 Days between Ascension and Pentecost?
Brought to you by Christianity.com

The New Testament gives a glorious account of Jesus's ascending into heaven. He rose from the dead at the end of Passover and stayed on earth for forty days before ascending to paradise. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples in Jerusalem, another epic event. 

But what about those ten days? When investigating that period, we realize the importance of how we wait on God. 

I’ve never prayed for patience, yet God still tries to teach it to me. God often uses seasons of waiting to build our character and faith. We often feel waiting is wasted, but God wastes nothing. He uses these seasons to test and try us and help our faith become more complete. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

What are the Scriptural Accounts of Ascension?

The first account of Jesus’ ascension is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24, verses 50-53:

“And he led them out as far as 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 worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”

In this passage, Jesus leads his disciples to the significant village of Bethany, a place where Lazarus, Mary, and Martha reside, and where Jesus had spent considerable time during his ministry. Upon their arrival, Christ blesses them before ascending into heaven. The disciples, filled with worship and joy, recognize the profound significance of this momentous event.

We find the second account found in Acts 1:9-11:

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

The same disciple, Luke, wrote Acts. Here, he provides more details about the ascension, recounting how, after speaking to the disciples, Jesus rises into heaven in full view of everyone present. Two angels appear to the disciples, addressing them directly and assuring them that Jesus will return in the same manner as he ascended.

These accounts of Jesus’ ascension affirm his divine authority and victory over sin and death. They also provide hope and assurance to believers that Jesus will one day return in glory to establish His kingdom on earth.

Additionally, the ascension marks the culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of his heavenly reign as exalted Lord and Savior. Hebrews 1:3 declares, “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Also, Jesus’ ascension fulfills Old Testament prophecy, such as Psalm 110:1, which says, “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” This passage points to the exalted position and reign of the Messiah at the right hand of God.

Yet Jesus didn’t simply return to the Father. When he departed, he imparted important instructions to his disciples. 


What Did Jesus Tell the Apostles to Do After Ascension?

Before ascending, Jesus gave his disciples commands regarding their mission and the coming of the Holy Spirit. 

In Matthew 28:18-20, commonly known as the Great Commission, Jesus commands his disciples:

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”’

Here, Jesus empowers his disciples to go forth and spread the gospel message to all nations, baptizing believers and teaching them to follow his teachings. This commission emphasizes the universal scope of the disciples’ mission and the importance of disciple-making as a central aspect of their ministry.

In Acts 1:4-5, Jesus provides further instructions to his disciples before his ascension.

“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”

Christ instructs them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promised Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit baptism would enable them to minister as effective witnesses for Christ, which he clarifies in Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 

Even though they had seen the death and resurrection of Jesus, and heard his teaching, the disciples needed divine power to be witnesses of heaven. Jesus was the divine in human form, and he ministered after the Holy Spirit anointed him at his baptism in the Jordan. To fully represent the Gospel, these men needed to be born again by the Spirit and anointed by the Spirit. Jesus found this so necessary that he told them to wait until the Spirit came upon them. Then they would spread the Gospel to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. 

The apostles obeyed and remained in Jerusalem. Jesus didn’t say how long it would be, although, as Jews, they may have suspected. His death occurred during Passover, the first of three main festivals. The first harvest festival came soon, Pentecost. But they had likely learned not to assume when it came to Jesus. So they waited.

Ten days later, on the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon them with power, fulfilling Jesus’ promise and launching the Gospel and the church. 

But for those ten days, they had waited. But it mattered how. 

Photo Credit: Image created using AI technology and subsequently edited and reviewed by our editorial team.

What Happened in the Ten Days Between Ascension and Pentecost?

First, we should not do what the disciples didn’t do. They didn’t go back to work. They didn’t sit around, bored. They actively waited, with intentionality. 

According to Acts 1:12-14, after witnessing Jesus’ ascension, the disciples returned to Jerusalem and gathered together in the upper room of a house. They devoted themselves to prayer, along with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. This period of prayerful waiting reveals their unity and expectancy as they awaited the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit. 

As Jesus had taught them, prayer isn’t passive. Prayer in faith moves mountains (Matthew 17:20) and tears down kingdoms. Prayer served as active and faith-filled. 

Acts 1:15-26 describes the selection of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve apostles. After Judas’ betrayal, he sadly committed suicide. The disciples recognized the need to fill this vacancy to get them to 12 apostles. The apostles came up with a few criteria and selected two qualified candidates. They then prayed for guidance and cast lots to determine whom the Lord chose. Casting lots They selected two qualified candidates, prayed for guidance, and cast lots to determine whom the Lord had chosen. 

Casting lots refers to a fascinating Jewish custom. Essentially, people would throw objects like sticks or stones that were marked or numbered to come up with a type of decision, much like flipping a coin or rolling a die. Casting lots could be used as a game of chance, like a bet, which we see when the Romans divided Jesus’ clothes. However, the Jews didn’t believe in chance. The Jews understood God’s sovereignty manifested during these times, and used this method at times to discern God’s will (Leviticus 16:8-10, Numbers 26:55-56, Joshua 18:6-10, 1 Samuel 14:41-42, 1 Samuel 30:7-8, Nehemiah 10:34). 

Interestingly, with the giving of the Holy Spirit, the New Testament never includes casting lots as a viable practice. Now, with the Holy Spirit, we can ask him directly and get wisdom from him. 

After casting lots, they added Matthias to the apostolic group, restoring the number to twelve.

In both cases, Acts records how the apostles and disciples prepared themselves expectantly for the coming of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel mission to follow. This preparation included community, prayer, and choosing a twelfth apostle to spread the Gospel when the time arrived. 

On a practical level, we can assume the disciples made some preparations for the coming Pentecost holiday. Jews from all over the world arrived for the festival. For Jesus’ disciples, however, their primary focus was to wait in prayer and unity for the Holy Spirit. 


5 Things Christians Today Learn from the Ten Days Between Ascension and Pentecost

For every follower of Jesus, the period between Ascension and Pentecost holds profound significance. It is a time of active and expectant waiting for God to fulfill his promises, be they personal and situational or the ultimate redemption at the end of the age. This ten-day period offers powerful lessons on the art of waiting. 

1. We must recognize our absolute need for God’s power for any effective ministry. 

Jesus gave the Great Commission, and they had spent time with Jesus over three years. Yet they required the Spirit’s anointing before they could move forward in their calling. The power of ministry doesn’t reside in the right program or marketing campaign but in the Spirit’s anointing. More would do well to wait on the anointing before moving ahead in their call. 

2. We pray. 

Secondly, prayer is paramount. The disciples understood the power of prayer and how Christ intended for us to actively intercede. In teaching them to pray, the opening line asks God to bring heaven to earth, 

“Your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” - Matthew 6:9-13 

The New Testament refers to us as a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9). Intercession is our first and primary ministry, for every follower of Jesus. We should prioritize prayer in our individual and collective lives, seeking God’s will and empowerment for ministry. 

3. Pray intentionally, as a community, unified in purpose and expectation.

The disciples prayed together and were anointed together on Pentecost. We can’t fulfill God’s purposes and plans alone. We need one another as the Body of Christ, a whole corporate expression and witness unto God. 

4. We wait expectantly. 

God will fulfill his promises in his time and power, as he did on the Day of Pentecost. We wait with longing and anticipation, trusting that God will do what he said he would do for our good and his glory. 

5. Make practical preparations for the coming promise. 

They chose another apostle to return to the important number twelve, much like the twelve tribes of Israel coming into the promised land centuries before. While we pray and wait for God to fulfill his promises, we also act in alignment with those promises. We invest our time, money, and resources in our calling, both individually and corporately. 

Jesus’ death and resurrection happened on the first Jewish festival, Passover. The disciples received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the second of three main Jewish feasts, the harvest beginning. At Pentecost, God established the Church. We are now the fulfillment of the final festival, Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Ingathering, the end of the harvest where God gathers all of his saints for the joyful end of the age upon Christ’s return. 

Just as the disciples prayed and prepared for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we pray and prepare expectantly for the joy of Jesus’ return. 

Photo Credit: Image created using AI technology and subsequently edited and reviewed by our editorial team.

This article originally appeared on Christianity.com. For more faith-building resources, visit Christianity.com. Christianity.com

Britt MooneyBritt Mooney lives and tells great stories. As an author of fiction and non -iction, he is passionate about teaching ministries and nonprofits the power of storytelling to inspire and spread truth. Mooney has a podcast called Kingdom Over Coffee and is a published author of We Were Reborn for This: The Jesus Model for Living Heaven on Earth as well as Say Yes: How God-Sized Dreams Take Flight.

Originally published Wednesday, 15 May 2024.