May 17, 2012

Opening Our Eyes

Acts 1:1-11

He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
—Acts 1:9


Forty days after Jesus rose from the grave, he left his disciples and ascended into heaven. Since that day, we no longer have the physical presence of God with us on earth. That does not mean God is not with us, but it is easier for us to ignore him, because he is hidden from our sight.

Even in the Old Testament, God seemed to know that his people would be apt to ignore him. To combat this, God developed a series of patterns and habits for the people of Israel. Whenever they put on clothes, prepared food, entered their house, or groomed their hair, they were reminded of God’s presence in their midst (for example, see Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Although they were not able to actually see God, their eyes were opened to the reality of his presence, as they learned to exercise his will in every area of their lives.

After Christ ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit taught his followers that the dietary restrictions, clothing regulations, and even the sign of circumcision were no longer necessary, but it was still important to be aware of his work in their lives, even though Jesus was taken from their sight. (See Acts 2:1-4; 42-47; 15:1-31.)

In the practice of spiritual disciplines, we develop an awareness of his work and presence as we strive to walk with him.

Lord Jesus, we praise you as you reign on high, and we ask that you will make us aware of your presence through your Spirit, even though we cannot see you. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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