So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Advent is a glorious season as we prepare for the birth of the Saviour but in all the familiarity of the season and the anticipation of the Christmas celebration it is easy to forget that all year round we should be anticipating that great Second Advent when Jesus will return.
The words above from the Book of Acts are hugely exciting and encouraging and although we have already waited 2000 years for Christ’s return, it is not as long a wait as the ancients had for the first advent, so we must not loose heart or perspective.
As we consider for just two more days up to the end of 2021, the question, ‘How then should we live?’ we focus on the two great truths that Jesus shared with the 11 disciples before he ascended.
1.You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses.
The gift of the Spirit followed a short while later and the witness to Jesus began to change the world. That situation has not changed!
Certainly the progress of the gospel through the world has been variable, sometimes and in some places making great forward strides. At other times seeming to stand still but the same power is available and the gospel has not changed so that is how we should live – sharing the gospel in the power of the Spirit by word and action.
2.This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.
Jesus is coming back to complete all that God has planned and purposed for those who are his.
Thus we must live with one eye on Jesus’ return and one eye on the task before us as outlined above. The faithfulness of those who held firm to the promise of a Saviour should be a lesson to us. They lived and died not having seen the promise but it came. We are tasked to do the same. 2000 years have passed and Jesus has not yet returned but the promise is as solid as the one we have followed through the Advent season. Thousands have died longing but not seeing, but Oh the joy when he does return to see him face to face and hear
‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’
So let us
`Walk humbly with our God. Keep our minds renewed by constant exposure to God’s word. Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus having no fear of what man can to us. Hold firm to the promise of Christ’s return and witness to the unchanging gospel, putting the gospel first in all we do.