But while they were marveling at everything Jesus was doing, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”
Stop your marveling.
Here in Luke, just after he transfigures before his disciples and after he casts out a strong demon, his disciples were marveling at him.
In response to this, Jesus cautions their marvel and excitement over his miracles by immediately reminding them that he’s not going to be around much longer. In most of the gospels, Jesus is recorded as having repeatedly warning his disciples of his imminent departure which tells me it’s a central theme in Jesus’ interaction with his disciples.
Why is this important?
As a leader, Jesus seems to want to prepare his disciples for life without him. That, he in the flesh, would only be an ephemeral reality.
It’s almost like a parent who’s about to divorce warning their children to prepare for life without their presence. But unlike (very unlike) that analogy, Jesus’ aim is not to leave them with an orphan heart, but to rather redirect the dependence of our hearts on the Holy Spirit.
He tells his disciples again in John: “I will not leave you as orphans..” namely because “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.”
Instead of interacting with the Son of Man in the flesh, he is preparing them to interact with the Holy Spirit.
This intention is proven in the whole Luke-Acts narrative as one of the main themes of Acts is the person of the Holy Spirit as the substitute for the person of the Jesus in the day to day activites of the disciples. It’s for this reason that (this is so important!) Luke actually calls the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7).
The Holy Spirit would be sent in his name to inhabit believers forever. In our faith, we are to not only look upward at the Son of Man who sits at the right hand of the Father, but to look inward and interact with the Spirit that he sent to us forever.
We are to depend on this Spirit just as the disciples depended on Jesus for sustenance, teaching, direction, and power. The more we interact with the Holy Spirit like an actual person, the more we are being faithful disciples of Jesus because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus.
Holy Spirit, in our lives, help us to interact with you on a regular basis. Open our minds to how that works on a day-to-day basis. If we are unacquainted, then teach us, that we may be faithful disciples just like the ones you developed before you ascended.