January 18, 2009

Ascension: the View From Below

Acts 1:1-11

“Why do you stand here looking into the sky?”
Acts 1:11


If the cross was shocking, and the resurrection astounding, the ascension must have been incomprehensible. What must the disciples have thought? Why would Jesus rise from the grave only to depart forty days later? We can picture Jesus’ followers on that hillside, their mouths agape, staring into the cloud that had swallowed Jesus from their sight. It would take a visit from an angel to shake them out of their stupor.

I can’t blame the disciples. In fact, I sometimes think, as they probably did, “Wouldn’t it be better if Jesus were still here to see that things get done right?” Surely he would be the most impressive preacher of his own gospel. And think of all the war-torn places that could benefit from his reign of peace! Why did he leave?

Jesus left because he has a job for us to do. And he provides the resources for us to do it. In fact, he tells us that trying to do the job without his continuing help would be futile. Still, he intends to further his kingdom through ordinary folks like us. We will be his Easter witnesses to every corner of the globe.

But that means we need to stop procrastinating and get moving. We don’t wait for Jesus’ return by staring into the sky. We prepare for his return by sharing his good news with the world! Can you think of one way you’ve done that in the past week?

Lord, so often we bury our talents in the ground and do nothing, waiting for your return. Help us to understand our gifts and use them faithfully to share the good news. Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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