For January 5, 2020
I’ve often wondered what the Eleven Disciples must have been thinking while watching the Lord Jesus Christ ascend into Heaven forty days after His resurrection. Here, a few weeks earlier, the Mount of Olives was the location where Jesus made His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on a donkey as the gathering throngs of people surrounding Him exclaim:
Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest Heaven! Matthew 21:8b (NIV)
Also from this location, the Lord taught them in graphic detail about the Destruction of Jerusalem, (70 AD), the Signs of His Coming, and about The End of the Age shortly before His crucifixion. 1
Now the mount served as a point of departure (and subsequent return) for their Beloved Savior and Redeemer. But before departing, the Lord would give them words of comfort that apply to us today:
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. Acts 1:8 (NLT)
While watching the Lord Jesus Christ ascend into Heaven, two men in white apparel encouraged them (and us) with these words:
Men of Galilee…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 1:11 (NLT)
Amen! Jesus is coming again…and very soon!
The Disciples returned to Jerusalem, and waited for the promise of the Holy Spirit, which would happen in ten days, on the Day of Pentecost. At that time, the course of their lives, and the lives of others would be forever changed by their faith in Jesus Christ and the redeeming work He accomplished for them and us at Calvary.
The Eleven had been fearful and were in hiding.2 Some doubted as did Thomas.3 Even Peter tried to resume his lucrative fishing career. However, this failed as he finally realized that feeding the Lord’s Sheep was his new profession exclusively.4
After Pentecost, the Disciples would no longer cower in fear, doubt, or seek personal interests. Instead, they would change the course of human history through their preaching, teaching and faithful, diligent service.
In essence, these men, along with those of us who would follow them became the “salt and light” Jesus foretold of in Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT):
You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
In this life, we are certain to experience trials and suffering. However, in John 16:33, the Lord Jesus Christ promises us His rich, abiding peace, which we will never find anywhere else on earth.
But best of all, because He overcame the world triumphantly, and because He now lives within us, in the person of the Holy Spirit, we can be of good cheer because we know that we will overcome triumphantly as well. What a Wonderful Savior!