BY THE REV. DAVID MERRITT |
So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” – Acts 1: 6-11 NLT
In the cycle of our church year, we celebrate different seasons or times. After the season of Easter, we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus and then move into Pentecost. It is a wonderful time to remember the joy of the Resurrection but also the challenge for all of us to move out beyond our own Jerusalem and share the Good News of God’s Love.
For many years, I really never thought very much about the Ascension of Christ. On a whim, my parents took me to Gatlinburg as a child where we toured a garden. In the midst of the garden, there was a sculpture of white stone with the face of Jesus looking out over the area. His eyes were focused on the onlooker and as you moved from one side to the other, it appeared that his eyes were moving with you.
This optical illusion made me begin to wonder about my life of faith. I began to think about the presence of Jesus in my daily life, the lessons I learned in Sunday School, and the power of Jesus’ teachings once He ascended into heaven. As Jesus moved beyond this temporal realm to experience the true expression of God’s light and majesty – we too must move beyond the joy of Easter into a world where we can live out our faith in God.
Jesus’ ascension is a time to take the promise of new life and share the joy with others. It is a time to share our testimonies of how our lives have been changed by his grace, mercy, and teachings. The words of the Gospel writers compels us to take this measured authority and publicly offer our testimonies about Jesus…Savior, Lord, and Advocate!
I would encourage, you friend travelers, to put on your walking shoes and join me in the mission of a lifetime. Don’t wait to be asked. Walk with the Jesus of Heaven and as you walk you will tell the story of the One who conquered sin and death, even our Lord Jesus Christ!
About the Author
The Rev. David Merritt is a retired Pastor, former Dean, Outreach Director, and Chaplain, but he’s “papa” according to his grandkids. David loves God, Laurel Ridge, and his family. He has enough sense to get out of the rain but prefers raindrops anyway.