Eastertide (Acts 1:1-11)

Journey with Jesus to ... the Resurrection! (Easter Wednesday, April 20)
Read Acts 1:1-11

The fifty-day period beginning with Easter Sunday is traditionally known as Eastertide. It’s a seven week season intended specifically to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense to do this. For as important as Jesus’ death was, without the resurrection, he would have simply been one more failed revolutionary. But the resurrection changed everything.

So as we conclude our Journey with Jesus this week, we’ll do so with a few more meditations, contemplating what it means to implement the achievement of Jesus’ resurrection. To do this, we’ll take a look at the opening section of the book of Acts, which tells the story of what happened after Jesus’ resurrection.

Acts, as you may know, is also written by Luke, and is intended to be a sequel to the gospel story we just read. It begins with the Ascension of Jesus, which occurred 40 days after his resurrection, and is the final event of Jesus' earthly ministry

What is the significance of Jesus' Ascension?. All too often, we think of it merely as the time when Jesus left us, and gave us the promise of his return. 

But it was much more than that: Jesus ascended to his throne that day. And he’s been enthroned as King of Heaven and Earth ever since. His ultimate coronation still awaits the last day, the day when heaven comes down to earth like a bride adorned for her husband. But until then, what do we do?

We do what Jesus told his disciples to do. Once they are filled with the Holy Spirit, they will be witnesses of his resurrection until the day of his return. As they go, Jesus will be present with them, because he will empower them by his Holy Spirit. The book of Acts records their obedience to this divine mandate. They played a vital role in the expansion of the kingdom of God on the earth.

Now it’s our turn. Like them, we are called to be living witnesses to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. We are to be witnesses to people near (Jerusalem) and far (ends of the earth). And we are to remember that, in the midst of it, Jesus is always with us. Which is a pretty awesome thing, if you think about it. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, he can be present with us no matter where we are. His Holy Spirit lives within us, just as it did them. As we obey his divine mandate, we can play an important part in expanding the Kingdom of God in the 21st century, just as they did in the 1st century.

“Lord, thank you for including me in your kingdom-building project. Fill me with your Holy Spirt. Show me how to be an effective witness for you on a daily basis. Thank you that you will always be with me. Help me to sense your presence today, every moment of the day.”