Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
Luke 24: 44-53 (NRSV)
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
The ascension of Jesus. What must that have been like to witness in person? We get a good picture of it from this passage of scripture. Let me set the scene. It has been 40 days since Jesus was crucified. In that period of time his disciples have gone through a myriad of emotions: fear for their own lives, grief over losing their Master, disbelief and amazement at his resurrection, and uncertainty for the future. Jesus appeared to several people after his resurrection, and word began to spread about this miracle. He gathered his disciples for a few “last” instructions and to prepare them for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
If I had seen these events unfold and then watched as Jesus ascended into heaven, you’d have to hold me back to keep me from talking about it. I always thought it funny when reading about Jesus’ frustration with his disciples for “not getting it.” How many times do the Gospels tells about Jesus chiding them for either misunderstanding or completely missing the point? Right here, at the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus gives them the understanding they need to spread the message everywhere. Here we are, thousands of years later, and that message of hope, redemption, and forgiveness is still being proclaimed around the globe. God’s kingdom spread from a handful of regular “Joes” and misfits. There have been and will be false prophets who seek to use Jesus’ name for their personal gain, but the good news of the Gospels still resounds loud and clear within the pages of the New Testament.
Imagine watching Jesus rise into the sky and disappear from sight. The disciples were left with a certainty of their convictions and a clear path forward. Would it be easy? No. But in the immortal words of Davy Crockett: “Be always sure you are right, then go ahead.” The disciples were sure they were right and they went ahead and preached the good news throughout the known world. Thanks, guys!
Dear Lord, sometimes we are staggered by your awesome love. We can’t possibly live up to your perfect standards, so we thank you for your message of forgiveness. We also thank you for sending your message into the world and having it still resound with clarity today. Open our eyes and give us the understanding of your scriptures to guide us along the rest of our days. Amen.
Go with God.