3After Jesus’ suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with* the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But 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 ends of the earth.’ 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.
How big must the smiles had been upon Jesus’ closest disciples as they gathered with him after the resurrection? How their hearts and hopes must have soared to have their Savior with them again. Their fingers and toes, itching to get going and see the kingdom, the true Kingdom of God rise up before them. And then, Jesus does the unexpected again, the Holy Spirit will be strengthening them for the next chapter. They, in all that they had seen, heard, and been taught, was to be of service to others. They were identified as witnesses and they had to go. Jesus raises up, travels to where they cannot go, just yet. Good news had to be shared.
Gracious Savior, we are grateful for the Holy Spirit who awakened the truth of your salvation in our hearts. We are hopeful for miraculous ways the Spirit continues to work in our lives and strengthen us to share your love with others. May we too be identified as witnesses of your word to the ends of earth, Amen.