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Acts 1:6-11, The Ascension of Jesus

Tuesday, May 15

Immediate Gratification

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Jesus ascends on a cloud

Immediate gratification. It's my middle name. I don't like to wait. I want it now. I can't even count how much money and time I've wasted in the pursuit of now. And when the stars seemed aligned to give it to me now, well then, I'm an even bigger sucker for it. 

To Jesus' followers, the stars seemed aligned to deliver Jesus' promises of a new kingdom. Jesus had died and been raised! He had made several appearances to his followers, and it seemed like this might be the time when Israel would be restored. I mean, just how many resurrections were they going to witness in their lifetimes?

But Jesus had other plans. The time would be arriving, but not now. When? Not for them to know. Despite all the miracles and whirlwind of recent events, they would have to wait. But they wouldn't wait alone. They wouldn't work alone. The Holy Spirit would rest upon them to keep them motivated, to guide them, and to protect them while they worked.

And then something they did not expect. A cloud took Jesus up and out of their sight. What just happened? Two angels explained. Jesus was raised into heaven, and would one day return from heaven in the same manner. Remember when Elijah was taken to heaven on a chariot? Jesus didn't even need a chariot. The clouds themselves would take Jesus, an even more important person than Elijah, if that was possible. This would be the last time Jesus was seen on this earth until he will return again. Until then, we wait and we work.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 1:6-11

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”