Christ gathers his disciples and takes them up to a hill.  It has been about 40 days since the resurrection. The disciples want to know if Christ will now restore the kingdom to Israel. His answer is that it is not for them to know the times and seasons established by the Father, but they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they will be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

When I first read this I thought Christ was taking mercy upon their misunderstanding of who he was, why he came, and what he did by not answering their question. After reading through it and meditating on it I realized that he did answer them.  At this point they don’t have much understanding of the Holy Spirit and what will happen when the Spirit shows up. We have carried on this tradition today. We don’t know the role of the Holy Spirit and we either overemphasize the work of the Spirit or avoid speaking about the Spirit.  That may be overly harsh for some of you but I come from a Baptist background where we mainly speak of the spirit when we are baptizing someone. And we don’t mean the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

What Jesus tells the disciples is that he is going away and he is sending the Spirit. The Spirit will give them power to be witnesses of gospel. The kingdom will be restored using the church powered by the Holy Spirit to witness to the world about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ will restore his kingdom but not like they were thinking.

We are like the disciples a lot of time when we want Christ to just take over the world and give us comfort and peace. We want the kingdom of God to be restored because of what we will get or who we will be not because He will be glorified. If His kingdom is restored we get God, He is the good news, not what we might get along with Him.

So Christ tells them the Spirit is coming, they will be powerful when they have the Spirit, and it will lead to them witnessing to the world. The story is the same for believers today. Today Christ is restoring the kingdom of God using the church. Today Christ desires to empower us with the Spirit. Today Christ desires for us to be His witnesses in Dallas, Texas, the U.S. and the ends of the earth.

At the end of the passage after Christ ascends the disciples are greeted by angels. They are told not to continue looking into heaven for Christ, but that Christ will return just as He ascended. We are not to look into the heavens for Christ, but to trust that one day He will return just as He ascended. We are to be busy about the kingdom of God. We are to ask for the Spirit to empower us so that we may boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Christ left, but He did not leave us alone. He sent us the Spirit. Let that reality resonate in your soul this week.

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