Summary: This is a sermon that encourages its audience to get up and go... get up and go tell someone the good news.
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
“What are You Staring at?”
Some things in life… are so amazing… so life altering… soooo… AWESOME, that you simply can’t help rushing out to tell other people about it. Like that new job… that new car… that engagement… closing on that house… receiving that award.
Just think… of all the things that have happened in your life where the first thing you wanted to do was run off and tell someone the good news! The excitement bubbles within you… and you just have to tell somebody… anybody!
I think back just recently myself… to passing all of my ordination exams, to receiving a call here in Fairbury. I was so excited that I called everyone I could think of to share the good news.
In fact… lets take a little journey back… WAY WAY back… to the Spring of 2006. I know… I look SO much older now, but you’ll just have to use your imaginations.
• CALL TO MOM
• CALL TO DAD
• CALL TO RON PETERS
Some of the happiest news of my life… some of the most life changing news I will ever be able to pass along… and I could not wait to tell somebody.
Now, the disciples in our scripture text this morning have the same kind of opportunity where they have received amazing life changing news… lets see how they handle it. The disciples are walking with Jesus… He sits down with them and begins to teach… “Look, I’m going to be leaving you soon… but here is the really good news… like I have already told you at the last supper I will not leave you as orphans… I’m not going to leave you alone! I’m going to leave the Holy Spirit with you.”
“The Holy Spirit will come and give you the strength to do all the things that come before you, the Holy Spirit will give each one of you a gift you will need to do the work that I set before you, the Holy Spirit will bind you to one another and bind you to me… so that you will never ever work alone!”
That’s the first part of the amazing news they were about to receive, but our scripture doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t stop “Oh by the way, here are all these really really cool toys… enjoy… I’ll see you later.” Jesus turns it around on them and turns this into a call to action… he says, “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.” There is a hint of the imperative in the Greek language… you WILL receive power when the Holy Spirit comes… you WILL be my witnesses! It comes across as something that is not optional here… these are things that WILL happen.
Basically, he pulls them in and says, “The Holy Spirit is going to give you some amazing gifts… and you ARE GOING to put them to good use! What I am going to do through all of you is going to be done in Jerusalem… in Judea and Samaria… in fact to the very ends of the earth. It’s going to be huge… and all of you are going to be a part of it.”