Where do we go from here?



When the first disciples saw the risen Jesus, what did they conclude? At first, I am not sure they knew exactly what to conclude. They were elated, they were shocked, and they gathered into the temple and worshiped and glorified the God of Israel but I don’t think that they knew what was supposed to happen next. They did some things seemingly without really knowing exactly why they were doing them anymore. Peter suggested that they all go fishing again (John 21:3). Was life going back to “normal” now? Was Jesus going to stick around forever? Was Israel’s hope for liberation from her oppressors going to be validated? Would Israel be given the kingdom that they always wanted? Would Jesus build a new temple in Jerusalem and maybe a new royal palace for Himself? Most of us Westerners would say to the disciples, “No, no, no. You don’t get it. Jesus is going to go away to heaven and one day take us to be with Him there, where His kingdom is…” But I am afraid that the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, would want to pull us Westerners back and say, “Actually, brothers and sisters, you do not get it.” In fact, Jesus Himself might say, “You didn’t hear Me. I didn’t say that I was leaving you. Quite the contrary, I said ‘And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:20 ISV).” Jesus’ His ascension is not about Him “going away” to heaven as though heaven is some place far above the solar system. No. Jesus, was ascending to His throne, which is in heaven, but heaven is not far away. Heaven is God’s space within God’s creation. Jesus is still with us and even more importantly, He has commissioned us to carry on His work. Jesus told His disciples “as the Father has sent Me into the world, so I send you…receive the Holy Spirit.” John 21:21,22. This is a very high calling and incredible honor which is hard to comprehend all at once. This was going to take some time to work out in practice. The disciples concluded one thing at least, immediately following the resurrection, everything is different now. But it would still take time to figure out exactly what had changed. This is still true of us as Christians today. Jesus changes us in an instant and fills us with the Holy Spirit, but it still takes time to figure out what it all means and where we go from here.

#TheTemple #TheResurrection #Disciples #TheEarlyChurch

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The Gospel for Planet Earth, USA