Love, Power & Hope | Wayne Massey
Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 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. 4 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. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “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.”
Oh no! What’s next?
This was the question for the disciples at the start of Luke’s account in the book of Acts. Jesus, resurrected from the dead, had been meeting with them over the past forty days, but this was coming to an end. What he told them set them up for all that would happen next. The Holy Spirit would come in his place, filling them with love, power and hope.
We all have ‘Oh no! What’s next?’ moments, but we don’t have to face them alone.
God’s love is real and changes us – as we see ourselves through his eyes, we relax into the knowledge that we are God’s children. And the love we experience simply overflows – we want to share it.
Like the disciples we are given a purpose: to be witnesses to what Jesus has done for us. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to speak and to pray.
The hope we have anchors us, just as it did the disciples. ‘Acts’ tells of disasters of all kinds – disciples in conflict, imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, killed for their faith. But they were upheld through it all, because they knew that this was not the last word. Jesus would return, bringing in God’s eternal kingdom. Love would conquer suffering and death.
‘What’s next?’ might be something wonderful, or it might take us through the valley of the shadow of death. Whatever the situation, we are never alone. Jesus promised he would never leave us, and we can trust that promise. In every situation we can experience his love, his power and his hope. It’s a gift for every one of us – we just have to say ‘Yes’.