In Acts 1, we read about the last days of Jesus’ ministry on earth:
3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God …9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.
The ascension of Jesus in Acts 1 signifies the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Do you ever wonder why Jesus had to return to heaven? Wouldn’t it have been better if he had just stayed with us on Earth and continued to teach and perform miracles? The disciples, followers of Jesus didn’t want him to leave either. When Jesus talked with the disciples about leaving them, it caused them great distress.
5 “But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. 6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you.”
Although the talk of his leaving agitated the disciples, the Bible never mentions tears or mourning when he actually ascended into heaven. This could be because Jesus’ departure ushered in a time of even greater intimacy with him through the Holy Spirit. Although thinking of being separated from Jesus caused the disciples great anxiety, the actual bodily separation from him brought them something even greater. The Holy Spirit allowed Jesus to be present with all of us all of the time.
20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The ascension is only partially a conclusion or “goodbye” to Jesus’ life and ministry on Earth. It is primarily the introduction of a new beginning of Jesus’ ministry through his Church empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The disciples had to say goodbye to Jesus in order to say hello to their new purpose of advancing the good news and establishing the Church.
Their new beginning was a life with real purpose.
What have been the most difficult goodbyes in your life so far?
How have the goodbyes in your life been an invitation to new opportunity and purpose?
Do you feel that God is asking you to say goodbye to something in your life?
The Disciples had each other for support as they said “goodbye” to Jesus being on earth. They also provided encouragement to each other as they stepped into new opportunities. Take a few moments and identify the people in your life who can support you during a “goodbye” and encourage you in your new “hello”.
God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for knowing what we need, even if it’s not what we want at the time. Please show me anything in my life that I need to let go of or say goodbye to. Please help me adjust and accept new beginnings. Amen.
This post was written by Meghan Yarnell. Meghan is an art teacher and artist. She is married and has a son and daughter.
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