“[The angel] said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
The disciples were stunned and dumbfounded. They had just witnessed something quite amazing. One moment Jesus was standing with them, talking to them, and the next moment “He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). They had never seen anything like that before.
More than being amazed at this unusual sight, these disciples were struck dumb for the moment because Jesus, their Lord and Savior, their companion and friend, their help and strength in every need, had just left them.
It is not difficult to imagine their feeling of loss and of being lost. Jesus had just commissioned them to be witnesses to Him, not only in Jerusalem where the Jews still hated Jesus, but also in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. That was a huge task to carry out, and now their Teacher and Helper had left them. Left alone, all they could do was stand, stunned, gazing up into heaven.
Do you ever find yourself in their position? Are there times when a task looms over you and it is so overwhelming that you just stand and stare at it, not sure where to begin?
Perhaps there are times when you are troubled by the growing wickedness in the world and the dwindling numbers in the church. You may be frustrated that people don’t seem interested in hearing the true Word of God. You may be discouraged by the small numbers in most of our churches, and wonder how we can do anything? Do you stand in bewilderment and in a certain manner stare up into heaven as if to say, “Lord, what can we do? How can we stand?” Perhaps you even wish Jesus were here to lead us by the hand.
If so, then listen again to the promises of Jesus and the two angels. Just before Jesus ascended, He promised the disciples and us: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
Jesus did not desert His disciples. He ascended in glory to take His place on the throne at God’s right hand to rule over all things in heaven and on earth. He gave them the Holy Spirit to provide the power to do the work that He had given them. With the power of the Spirit, they did carry out their mission. They gave witness to Jesus throughout the world, and by the power of the Spirit many thousands were brought to faith.
The Word Is The Power
Still today the power of the Spirit is given to us in His Word. Through the Word, the Spirit strengthens us to do His will. The Spirit works through the Word to bring about His desired effect. God’s promise in Isaiah still stands: “My word will not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is. 55:11).
Jesus is most certainly coming again. What a powerful motive for us to do the work He has given us. Jesus has made us His servants to serve in His Kingdom, and has said: “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing” (Mt. 24:46). We want to be busy doing His work as faithful servants until He returns.
Even more than that, we know that man’s time of grace is short. We have the same compelling force that drove Jesus on to do His work: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (Jn. 9:4).
There are still many people who are thirsting for the Water of Life. May we go out and find them and give it to them! Let us not stand gazing up into heaven, overwhelmed and bewildered, thinking there is nothing we can do. Let us go with the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit and do the works of Him who sent us while it is day.
–Pastor David Reim