“While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into Heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the Temple blessing God.”
“And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed in the power from on high.”
So this was said in the Gospel according to Luke in describing the Ascension of Jesus. And this they did with a joy and verve and excitement which caused them to praise God for the gifts they had already received. And they waited.
We, the followers of Jesus, and these events, are not always patient, or sure of what we are waiting for, as were the disciples. They knew of the Gospel offering forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life. They also knew that Jesus prayed for them, and us, saying, “I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so the world may believe that you have sent me.”
They waited and hung on tightly to this promise, knowing it to be true. That all that had happened was true and real, and all that was promised would be, also.
Paul and Silas ran afoul of the local authorities as they spread the word of Jesus in Philippi, a Roman colony in Macedonia. And they were stripped of their clothes, beaten and flogged. They threw them into prison, and ordered the jailer to keep them most securely. He put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in stocks. At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Suddenly there was a violent earthquake and the foundations of the prison were shaken and the doors fell open, even the chains that kept the prisoners were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw the doors open, he drew his sword with which to kill himself, for allowing the prisoners to go loose. Just then Paul shouted, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer rushed in and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out. Then asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The answer was there for the jailer, and all of us today; “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” Amen.
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.