Acts 1:2 – Until the day he was taken up to heaven
Dr Luke, like many learned people of his day, wrote in volumes: the first volume is the gospel; the second volume the Acts of the apostles. As we saw yesterday, the connecting tissue between the two is the ascension of Jesus: the day when Jesus was taken up to heaven.
Interestingly this theme begins as early as chapter 9 of Luke’s gospel. You might want to read it. There, Moses and Elijah, both of whom knew a thing or two about dramatic departures, are discussing with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, ‘his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem’ (Luke 9:31). And then twenty verses later, ‘as the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem,’ – what some call a travel narrative that takes us south from Galilee, through Samaria, and onto the events we have just celebrated this Easter weekend. Jesus knew there could be no departure into heaven without entering the vortex of his passion. As he explained to the Emmaus disciples, the Messiah first had to suffer before entering his glory. And by travelling to Jerusalem he showed how determined he was to fulfil this aspect of his ministry – the heart of his ministry. Yes he came to teach, and to heal. But first and foremost he came to offer his life for us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, give me the same resolve to bear my trials and the same faith as our Lord to believe that our present sufferings will not be worth comparing to the glory we shall receive in heaven.