Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the world and
proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and
is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be
condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new
languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and
if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They
will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was
taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of
God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the
Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through
He had been with them for forty days. They had been very
glad to see him again, but something had changed. There
were no reports of miracles worked by him during that time.
Nothing at all, except the way in which he appeared suddenly
through ceilings and floors, unopened windows and locked
He spoke to them, that’s true. But when he spoke to
them, he only spoke about them. He told them that he was
giving them power. The power to forgive one another. The
power to cast out evil. The power to handle snakes with
their hands, animals that had always been the symbol of
sin. He told them that He would send them his Holy Spirit.
And for the rest, no news. Nothing happened until the
fortieth day, when they met on a mountaintop.
It seems to have started with their question, a question
that had been burning on their lips and in their minds for
such a long time: “Lord, has the time come? When are you
going to restore this world?” When they asked that
question, his feet left this earth a little bit. “When are
You going to bring salvation and redemption (he got a little
higher), the emancipation and the justice, the goodness and
integrity (he got a bit higher again), the health and the
life, the development and the Kingdom of God you have
promised and we are waiting for?” He was very high now.
The more they insisted, the higher he rose.
Then, from above, he said: “Let us not discuss times and
dates. Let us not discuss when it will all be finalized.
Let us discuss how you – yes you – will receive the Spirit.
How you will have to go out proclaiming the good news from
here till the end of the earth, baptizing those who believe,
casting out devils, picking up snakes, using your gift of
tongues, laying your hands on the sick. Start moving. You,
not me. I am leaving; it is up to you now.
While he was saying this, he left this earth, getting higher
and higher, until they could not see him anymore. They went
to Jerusalem to wait for the Spirit. Not what they were
expecting. Not what you and I are expecting either. Many
of us claim to be Christians, to be followers of Jesus
Christ. How many of us take the task he left us seriously?
We are quite willing to pray, to spend time in
church, but how many of us carry our worshiping and the
teachings we had heard, out of our churches into our daily
lives? We live in a world, it seems, that is far from
good. We all know about the snakes, the sins, the
corruption, the terrorism, the violence, the hunger, the
bribes asked for, the drugs, the neglect and abuse, the
deception, the widows and widowers, and the disrespect for
human life, the government cover ups, and now, the attempt to take God completely out
of our lives.
Don’t we often use Jesus as an excuse for sitting
comfortable in this rubble and rubbish? Perhaps we might be
inclined at times to say: “After all, he redeemed us. We
are washed in his blood. We are safe. We are saved. We
look up to the Master, we fold our hands, we bend our knees,
we distribute our bibles, we contribute to our churches, we
close our eyes, we close our ears, we close our noses, we
close our hands, we close mouths, and we bless the world.
We even bless its bombs and its fighter jets, and we sing:
“Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” and “Alleluia,
Praise the Lord.”
Insofar as we are concerned, insofar as it depends
on us, nothing is going to change in this world. Nothing is
going to change because we glorify him who sits at the right
hand of God our Father. Do you know what Jesus Christ is
doing there at that right hand? It’s explained to us in the
letter to the Hebrews, chapter 10, and verse 13. The letter
reads: “He took his seat at the right hand of God where he
is waiting, until his enemies are overcame by us!”
His disciples were left behind on earth because of
that. That is why he said to them: “I leave you as salt.
I leave you as yeast. I leave you as light.” Don’t we
often piously think that we should be waiting for him? In
actual fact, he is waiting for us! He is waiting for us,
for humankind, to get with the program and clean up our
act. Do we think that He doesn't see what is going on in
this world? In this country? Do you think that
He is happy about it? He didn't make it this way my
friends. We can sit on our rear ends and pretend that
nothing bad is going on in this country. We can bury
our heads in the sand. We can block it all out and
live in our own little world. But that is not going to
cut it. Christianity, yes, us Christians are being
persecuted, and it's getting more and more common everyday.
We screwed it all up, and now He is waiting for us to fix
it! Having said that, we HAVE to understand that God is in
control, that this is God's world. He created it, and
if and when He wants it destroyed, He will do that Himself.
We HAVE to cling to the HOPE that He has given us, the
promise that was given to us, the reason why Jesus died on
that cross, so that eternal life will be possible for us, at
least for those who follow Him, for those who do not deny
God. As for all others, that is those who deny Him,
hell will be their reward.