So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But 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.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward 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.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. [NRSV]
This scene is one we can only imagine. Luke recounts how after the resurrection, after breakfast on the beach, after the crowds of believers began to grow again and things looked so promising, Jesus leaves the disciples.
His final words area a charge for those who believe to be witnesses: At home, in the community, to strangers and enemies, foreign and domestic. Tell the world about Jesus. Tell the world about God. Tell the world about the Holy Spirit. Tell the world about the church.
The disciples’ response to this call to action is to stare up at the sky with their heads in the clouds.
Two angel’s show up and remind them of the words that they just heard less than sixty seconds prior. What are you doing here, when there is work to be done. Get up and get to it.
How long are we suppose to be witnesses?
Until Jesus Comes Back.
How long are we suppose to volunteer, serve, lead, cook, clean, clothe, teach, sing, remind and remember, forgive and trust?
Until Jesus Comes Back.
How long are we suppose to be the body of Christ? Until we retire? Until we get burned out? Until we give the next check? Until it’s summer vacation?
Jesus left us with work, until he returns.
The disciples devoted themselves to prayer and began the mission of the church..
We come to the table of the Lord, breaking bread and drinking from the cup to be renewed in this work and fed in the Holy Spirit.
If we rely only on our skills, knowledge and our patience, we will fade, fail and fall away.
Pray with me…
Gracious God, may we reveal your kingdom, may we teach your Word and ways. May we remember and retell of your death and resurrection and the power. May we find your strength to accomplish your challenge.