Day 40: Acts 1:1-11
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 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.”
hen they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Today is the day we remember the ascension of Jesus to heaven, 40 days after his resurrection. Before the resurrected Jesus was taken to be with his Father in heaven, he had continued to interact with his disciples. They had witnessed his resurrected body – strangely familiar to how he had looked before, and yet also somehow different. They had trouble recognizing him. He eats with them, but he also is able to pass through doors. This resurrected body is like nothing they have ever seen before.
Here, before the ascension, Jesus promises his followers that a gift was coming – a gift that would bring them power and that would make them witnesses. The gift was the Holy Spirit, and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (just a few days away, now) altered the course of history.
Our God redeems, renews, and reconciles. He is constantly about the work of making all things new. The body of the resurrected Christ was the first step in God’s new creation, and the Holy Spirit has come to continue this important Kingdom work. The Holy Spirit makes us new, but also gives us power, as Jesus promised, to join God in restoring, redeeming, reconciling, and re‑creating.
Brad Taylor | Executive Pastor