Thursday 10 May 2018

Bible Book:

“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (v. 8)

Acts 1:1-11 Thursday 10 May 2018

Psalm: Psalms 47, 93


Today is Ascension Day when the Church celebrates Christ’s return to God (the Father). The disciples no longer see Jesus in his risen earthly form. Instead his presence as Christ, glorified, is available from now on, for all, at the heart of all creation.

Acts, like the Gospel of Luke, is dedicated to Theophilus, possibly a convert learning the Christian way of life. His name means ‘lover of God’. The Gospel tells the story of Jesus on earth, instructing those he had chosen through the Holy Spirit until his ascension. Acts picks up the story at the ascension.

Following his suffering (and death) Jesus appeared to the disciples for 40 days convincing them that he was alive and continuing to talk of God’s kingdom. This period mirrors the time the Israelites wandered in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land.

Jesus instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, the coming of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist baptized with water, as a sign of repentance, but soon disciples would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and so empowered to continue the ministry of Jesus (verse 5).

(Baptism is an initiation into a new world view, a new way of being alive. In Baptism, we symbolically die to a small, protected, unreal way of life; and rise to a limitless, shared, authentic way of life in God.)

The disciples were still trying to figure out Jesus’ teaching (verse 6). They wondered whether this meant the restoration of the political autonomy of Israel. Jesus suggested the concerns of God’s kingdom were much bigger. They would become witnesses to Jesus in Jerusalem (to Jews), in Samaria (to Samaritans) and finally to the ends of the earth (and so to Gentiles – non-Jews).

Luke tells us Jesus was then visibly taken up to heaven. A cloud symbolises God’s presence and power. Traditionally, figures dressed in white or in shining garments are messengers from God. They told the disciples not to cling to their earthly way of knowing Jesus. He would come again through the cloud.

(From now on the mystery of Christ’s presence is hidden throughout all creation and in every part of it. At some moment, their eyes and our eyes are opened to see this reality as it is.)

To Ponder

  • What question would you like to have asked Jesus on the days before his ascension? What do you think his answer might have been?
  • Where are you most/least conscious of Christ’s presence hidden in plain sight?
  • Have you ever experienced the crumbling of one way of encountering God and then found a new way emerging? What was this like?
  • Have you found an authentic way of witnessing to Christ that works for you? How or how not?
Previous Page Wednesday 09 May 2018
Next Page Friday 11 May 2018