1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
It has been 39 days since we celebrated the great Easter celebration. That means tomorrow is day 40, the day we remember Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Acts 1 tells us that the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples over a 40-day period. On day 40 he ascended into heaven, but not before promising to return one day. Ever since, Christians have waited with great expectation for the day of his return. In the meantime, Jesus did not leave us alone. He also promised that the Holy Spirit would come with power and authority, and it would be the Holy Spirit that would stay with us, equipping us for ministry and helping us to be faithful.
While I am not able to be counted among the faithful who encountered the risen Christ, I am among the faithful to whom the Holy Spirit has come. So are you! So are all Christians! And the presence of the Holy Spirit provides everything we need for faith and for faithfulness. Yes, Jesus ascended into heaven, but we are not alone! The Holy Spirit, one of the “Three Person’s” of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is with us.
How have you experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? Have you experienced the Holy Spirit leading you or guiding you? Have you experienced the Holy Spirit comforting you? Have you experienced the Holy Spirit convicting you of changes needing to be made in your life?
In Acts 1, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come upon us giving us power to be effective witnesses for Jesus. So, we can have confidence that when we talk about our faith in Jesus Christ, and when we give witness to Jesus through our actions, our words and deeds make an impact! Because the Holy Spirit is present and at work in our lives, each one of us can make an important contribution to the work of the Kingdom of God. How? By giving witness to the Gospel of love: “You will be my witnesses” Jesus said.
God bless you, and I hope to see you in church soon.