Links Daily Devotional

A Day of Excitement

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9, ESV)

Today is Ascension Day, the 40th day after Resurrection Sunday that marks the end of the Easter season and gives a 10-day notice for the coming of Pentecost. Standing alongside Jesus on the mountain, the disciples asked if this was the day he would restore the kingdom to Israel. As I imagine this scene unfolding, I see a gentle smile and a compassionate gaze on Jesus’ face for these confused young men. Their desires to be free of their earthly rulers were good, but they were still struggling to grasp God’s kingdom plan.

Jesus’ last words to his friends feel so kind: “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world” (Acts 1:7-8, MSG).

Then Jesus was gone. They were left looking on as the cloud took him out of their sight. I would have been both in awe at what I was seeing and confused as well. I love the words Eugene Peterson uses here. We will get the Holy Spirit and we will be able to be his witnesses. These feel like playful words inviting us into feeling excited for what we will receive and qualified to participate in something big.

Recently I played in a wonderful charity golf outing where I was given two gifts above and beyond my expectations, and I felt like an honored professional getting the opportunity to participate in something significant. As I write this, my body is remembering the excitement all over again as I picked out my gifts and engaged in wonderful conversations around the dinner table and on the golf course. I have also shared my experience with several friends with a great amount of passion and animation.

As I bring my thoughts back to the here and now, Ascension Day, the truth is that most often I do not emote the same level of enthusiasm toward the gift of the Holy Spirit or the honor of being a witness for Jesus in my world. Like the disciples, I look up and only see a cloud.

For the last five months I have been reading a devotional that has taken me into intentional reflection and prayer through the Scriptures around the liturgical calendar. It has led me to take notice of the importance of today. Jesus ascended for our good. He opened the door for his Holy Spirit to come. And, he has given us the gift to be his witness and participate in taking back the Kingdom of God… one square inch at a time.

Today is Ascension Day!

Tracy Hanson
May 14, 2015
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