"Just before He ascended into heaven, He left instructions for the apostles He had chosen by the Holy Spirit. After the sufferings of His cross, Jesus appeared alive many times to these same apostles over a forty-day period. Jesus proved to them with many convincing signs that He had been resurrected.
"During these encounters, He taught them the truths of God’s kingdom realm and shared meals with them.
"Jesus instructed them, 'Don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait here until you receive the gift I told you about, the gift the Father has promised. For John baptized you in water, but in a few days from now you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit!'
"Every time they were gathered together, they asked Jesus, 'Lord, is it the time now for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?'
"He answered, 'The Father is the one who sets the fixed dates and the times of their fulfillment. You are not permitted to know the timing of all that He has prepared by His own authority. But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces—even to the remotest places on earth!'
"Right after He spoke those words, the disciples saw Jesus lifted into the sky and disappear into a cloud! As they stared into the sky, watching Jesus ascend, two men in white robes suddenly appeared beside them. They told the startled disciples, 'Galileans, why are you staring up into the sky? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but He will come back the same way that you saw Him ascend.'" ~ Acts 1:2-11 (TPT)
This coming Thursday is Holy Thursday, the day we honor the ascension of Yeshua, 40 days after Resurrection Sunday.
I don't know a lot of believers outside of Catholicism who celebrate this day, but I do believe it's an important thing to acknowledge.
There's so much there, so many layers.
Imagine for a moment, that you've seen your friend and rabbi brutally murdered, then inexplicably, He comes back to life.
He told you He would, but in your mere mortal mind, that really wasn't something you could grasp. Until He was standing before you, or for some until you placed your hands on His wounds, it was beyond anything you could have possibly conceived.
And, just when you're getting used to having Him around again, 40 days after He rose from the dead, He asks you to be still in Jerusalem and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit. (I'm not sure they could have even been able to begin to fathom what that meant.) Then, He ascends into the heavens, and you've lost Him all over again.
At this point, there's no Holy Spirit connection for comfort. I imagine there was once again an inexplicable loss... with a promise. A miraculous momentous event, but, a loss and isolation nonetheless.
I don't suppose the experiences of loss, isolation, and waiting sound familiar to anyone right now?
After the wait, after lingering behind closed doors and waiting, God had an unimaginable gift waiting.
While I don't pretend what is waiting for us is anything akin to the arrival of the Holy Spirit, I do believe the promise that our loving Father works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
Heavenly Father, I pray for the beautiful soul reading this. They are your cherished child. Thank You, for giving them all of the strength and grace and peace they could possibly need in this season. Abba, You know far better than I do what they need, I pray you meet the needs I know not. Thank You for all of the ways you show up. Thank You, for helping us to have the eyes to see You, Your presence, Your gifts, and Your influence in ways large and small. Thank You, for all of the ways You are there for us. And, thank You, for the miracle of the ascension of Your Son, that He is seated at Your right hand above and over all, now and in the age to come.
An interesting P.S.... Thursday is Ascension Day, Friday is Jerusalem Day in Israel, a celebration of a reunification of Jerusalem, perhaps not fully accomplished, but still. I thought that was some pretty nifty timing.
"... I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also." ~ John 14:3 (KJV)
"God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises." ~ Psalm 47:5-6
"We know that in all things God works for good with those who love Him, those whom He has called according to His purpose." ~ Romans 8:28 (GNT)
"No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man." ~ John 3:13 (BSB)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
I was torn about what to choose for the bonus song of praise... so, here are two very very different offerings. ♥