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The Ascension of Our Lord – Did He Really Leave?


“Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God” (Luke 24:46-53).
 
Have you ever had a friend who moved away and who at first, visited so often that it was as if the move never happened? But after a while the new place took precedence, and the visits became less frequent and, finally, came to an end. How might you have responded differently if you knew a certain visit was the last time you were going to see your friend? Would that visit have been special?
 
It may have seemed much the same way for the disciples after the resurrection. Jesus was gone, but he appeared and spoke with them several times. When he took the disciples out to Bethany, blessed them, and ascended into heaven, surely it gave them quite a shock! Was Jesus gone? Jesus left the disciples physically, but they knew he wasn’t completely “gone,” because he promised that God would send to them the power to continue preaching his mission of love.
 
We are the inheritors of this same mission. The disciples handed off this mission to spread the Word to others who handed it off to others, all the way down to us. God did not send “power from on high” only to the disciples in Jesus’ time. We have come to recognize that the Holy Spirit still moves in us and among us, filling us with joy and enabling us to speak of and praise God.
 
– In what ways have you felt empowered by God to speak or do something?
 
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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