God’s Saving Word: Faith
Acts 1:1-11: Many faith communities observe today as Ascension Day. Jesus tells his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until God gives them the Holy Spirit, empowering them to share the gospel everywhere. Then he is taken up to heaven. The apostles keep their eyes on the skies until two angels jolt them into action.
1 Dear Theophilus:
In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time he began his work 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before he was taken up, he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men he had chosen as his apostles. 3 For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him, and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God. 4 And when they came together,[a] he gave them this order: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. 5 John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus Is Taken Up to Heaven
6 When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?”
7 Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. 8 But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them 11 and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”
Today’s Key Verse: Acts 1:8
[Jesus said:] “But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
What instructions did Jesus give his disciples? Today’s reading reminds us that, even as we lift our eyes to heaven in prayer, we are called to focus our activity here on earth in order to help bring about God’s peace and justice in our time. In what ways can you be a witness for Jesus and share the good news of God’s love wherever you are today?
Dear God, keep my eyes focused on what you would have me do today. Empower me to be a witness for you and share the good news of Jesus Christ wherever I am. Amen.
Acts 1:12-26: The apostles choose a successor to Judas.