SCRIPTURE: Luke 24:44-53
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
The Ascension of Jesus
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
Linda Lee Clader asks an important question in regard to this passage from Acts, “To what extent are we to take this story of a commissioning, two thousand years ago, and apply it to our own mission as disciples and apostles of Christ? To what, exactly, have we ourselves been witnesses? Upon what do we stand when we undertake to proclaim a gospel of God’s forgiveness and mercy? How do we acknowledge and share the blessing we have received?”
As United Methodists, we hold our mission as “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Jesus commissioned his followers to go out and make disciples, to share the Good News. Two thousand years is a LONG time. So long that some may feel distanced from that commission or the experience. These questions that Clader asks are pointed and important for Christians to consider, especially when looking to better understand and grow in faith.
Consider your response to one of the questions asked in this reflection on the Luke text. And do not rush to a conclusion or idea, take the time for a deep breath and really discern your response.
Having been blessed by you, God of our lives, and having been blessed by so many in our lives, we share our blessings with others. Give us the insight to recognize the blessings bestowed upon us, and the wisdom and grace to accept them, just as much as we look to bless others. Amen.