“Then 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.” Acts 1:6-11
For 40 days after his resurrection on Easter Sunday, the Bible says that Jesus travelled and preached with His disciples, preparing them for His departure from Earth. Today, Ascension Day, marks the moment Jesus literally ascended into heaven at the village of Bethany, near Jerusalem after sharing with them that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on them; and they would be His witnesses. Just a short time after that, the Holy Spirit did fall on them, and they were sent out with power and ‘turned the world upside down’.
This message was not just intended for these early disciples. We are taught again and again in Scripture, that the same Holy Spirit and the same power that was poured out on them, is now present in all who have been born again of the Spirit. We are still called to be witnesses of Jesus. Witnesses of WHO He is and WHAT He has done in our lives. We are to give testimony of Him so that others may receive the same Spirit, the same abundant life, and the same charge that we now possess. We are to bear witness to the fact that He suffered, died, was resurrected, and has now ascended into Heaven. He has gone to prepare a place for us and is coming back for us in the same way that the disciples saw Him go into heaven! Hallelujah!
Paul in his first letter to the Church in Thessalonica, elaborated on this promise when he told them; “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Pray with me: Father God, thank you for these Words, we know that they are faithful and true. We also know that you’ve called us to be faithful and true witnesses of Him, our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come! We commit to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses to Jesus in the outer most part of this earth that You have given us to dwell in until you return. Why do we stand here looking into the sky? Because one day, sooner than we think, we will see You in the air just as the early disciples did, but this time, you will be descending and coming back for us! Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus! In Jesus name we pray, amen!
Rejoicing in hope,