Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 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.
Food for Thought:
When I read this passage of Scripture, I think of what the earliest followers of Jesus must have felt in that moment. His closest friends are gathered around him and he tells them that he will suffer a horrible death and will rise again. I can only imagine how difficult this was for the disciples and followers of Jesus to hear. This man that they have come to know and love will die a horrible death (a criminal’s death) and then will rise again. Put yourself in the shoes of the earliest listeners of this story. What kinds of emotions do you think they were experiencing? How does this story strike a chord in you today?
God of love, your ascended Son promised the gift of holy power. Send your Spirit of revelation and wisdom, that in the blessed freedom of hope, we may witness to the grace of forgiveness and sing songs of joy with the peoples of earth to the One who makes us one body. In your sacred name we pray, Amen.