Think about Christ’s disciples on that first Ascension Day some two thousand years ago. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah who threw off the rule of the Roman government. Instead he died on a cross. Then, unbelievably, Christ rose from the dead and appeared to them. Their hopes were restored. But he still wouldn’t talk about restoring the kingdom to Israel: it seemed he had other things in mind.
It was in this time of transition that the followers of Jesus stopped everything and prayed! What was his will for them now and how would they carry it out? Before he ascended, Jesus told them:
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit . . . But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:4,5,8
So the disciples waiting and praying together in the upper room knew they were supposed to be Jesus’ witnesses, that they were to spread the good news. The Bible does not describe the original disciples as being especially gifted or powerful or eloquent, so how could God move through them to change the world? They needed the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to so.
Though many centuries have passed, we are not so different today. We want to see change in our nation, in our community, our church, our families and ourselves. We want to see people come to God through the good news of Jesus Christ. But how can simple people like us do this? We need the empowering of his Spirit just as the first disciples did.
Father in heaven, send the wind of your Spirit and blow away all the dirt and dust that clogs our spiritual eyes and ears. Jesus, pour out your promised Holy Spirit again and turn simple people like us into your hands, your feet, your voice in this world. God change our families, change our church, change our individual hearts and may the things of this world become utterly pale and tasteless to us. Let our families, our community taste and see and that the Lord is good!