S (Scripture): Acts 1:2b Before [Jesus] was taken up, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed them that he was alive with many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, speaking to them about God’s kingdom. 4 While they were eating together, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. He said, “This is what you heard from me: 5 John baptized with water, but in only a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?”
7 Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. 11 They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven.”
O (Observation): He is really gone! Like, really gone this time…
He died and came back. That was a big relief. But being gone for 3 days now seems like a trial run in light of the fact that Jesus’ ascension means they didn’t know the time Jesus would come back.
The disciples didn’t have a time, but they had a direction: forward. Not just up (the manner in which Jesus would return), but they were now to do in Jesus’ absence what Jesus did in their presence: be witnesses to God’s glory to all the world…starting in their hometown.
A (Application): Ever felt like you were pushed out “there” a little bit before you really felt ready? As a new teacher entering the classroom for the first time? Stepping onto the track or the field for the first time? Stepping into the pulpit?
Are we ever really ready? We know that Jesus equipped the disciples…but did they feel comfortable? Maybe comfort is not the point. Did they feel ready? To go? Into all the earth?
Regardless of whether they were ready or not, Jesus’ time to ascend to God had come. But the disciples would not be alone. They would soon be baptized with the Holy Spirit! They would have God’s Spirit with them in their witnessing.
Go. Be a bold, brave witness to grace and mercy and forgiveness.
P (Prayer): Lord, Be with us on our journey of sharing you live with the world. Amen.