THE DEPARTURE

As the remaining close followers of Jesus joined the fishermen they all enjoyed a meal.

James looked at Peter and John. “You know, now that Jesus is resurrected, we can tell them what we saw on the mountain that day.”

John stopped chewing. “I have a better idea. Let’s all go up there and show them where it happened.”

Peter stood. “Let’s go.”

When the eleven men approached the spot of the transfiguration they found Jesus waiting for them. They all bowed down.

Jesus waited for them to stand. “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. I commission you to go into the whole world teaching the truth to all. Disciple them as I did you. They must be taught to obey all that I have told you. Baptize those who believe in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

He looked into each pair of eyes. “I will always be with you, even to the end of the age. Go now. Wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the promised Comforter. You will receive power at that time.”

As Jesus vanished the disciples sat to soak in the moment before they shared the transfiguration experience with Peter, James and John.

About a week later Jesus opened the locked door from the outside of the upper room His disciples were in. He held the door open as he entered. “Follow me.”

He led them along the familiar path to the Garden of Gethsemane. He stood on the spot where He’d lamented forty-three days earlier. “I assure you that John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Remain in Jerusalem until then.”

Andrew stepped forward. “Lord, will you restore the kingdom to Israel, now?”

Jesus looked into his eyes. “It’s not for you to know the time or season set forth by the Father alone.”

He looked at the group. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, first; then in Judea and Samaria; then to the ends of the earth.”

The disciples stepped back when Jesus lifted off the ground. A cloud came down and enveloped Him as His ascension completed.

“Men of Galilee, why are you staring at the sky?” The disciples were startled by two men dressed in white robes. “This same Jesus will return in like manner. For now He’s in Heaven.”

The disciples silently looked at each other before they returned to the upper room in Jerusalem.

###

How often have you held onto the last words you heard from someone? Be it the parting words from a visit of a close friend or family member; or the final comment you received before the unexpected death of a loved one. We cherish those moments for the rest of our lives. Regretful words haunt many. So always try to leave on a positive note.

How much more important is this concept than when God Himself took on a human body? Jesus spent the last few years of His time on this planet imparting important information that would change lives to twelve men. Those men would be called upon to carry that information to the next generation to bring more followers of Jesus into the long-awaited kingdom. One of those men dropped out of the picture by this time, but Jesus would transform his replacement shortly.

You know Jesus would choose His vital last words carefully. Matthew and Luke give similar statements in different environments, so I gotta believe these were different times to repeat something important. Both times Jesus told them they would carry the message into all the world. That torch has been passed down to us now. Let’s keep it going so we can fulfill this commission.

In Matthew’s account Jesus says he’ll be with them always: a reference to the coming Holy Spirit. This is copied in Luke’s account in a more straightforward manner. Pentecost would prove to be that fateful day that such indwelling would begin for believers. The Apostles would be given a much stronger dose of the supernatural power than we receive, but it’s still potent enough to change hearts and lives today.

The most important verb used in Jesus’ message is spelled out using the first two letters in the name God: GO. We are told to go into the world and make disciples. That means it’s up to us to get the word out to this dying generation that we live in. For some people in the world this will require a severe sacrifice if they’re caught. I have a feeling they’ll carry this out more boldly than those of us who live in countries where freedom of speech is still allowed.

The opposite reaction is spelled out using the first three letters of the name Satan: SAT. I don’t remember who is credited with first uttering this quote, but it definitely fits here. “The only thing it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Christianity is NOT meant to be a spectator sport. We’re in a battle for the souls of each person we come in contact with. They need to see Jesus in us. If they don’t then that’s where we need to start. Get in the Word and learn as much as you can to be transformed into Jesus’ likeness.

Notice the outward progression of Jesus command to His followers: Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, then the uttermost parts of the earth. That’s our example: start with your immediate family, then your neighbors and city, then support missionaries and outreaches to the world at large.

This will probably stretch you out of your comfort zone. That’s a good thing, especially when God is doing the stretching. It took persecution of the disciples to get them to spread out from Jerusalem.

Don’t let that be said of you. Go and give Jesus away!

I’ll see you later.   Wade

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About Wade Webster

I'm a full-time truck driver who's been called to write. As I grow in my writing I pray you grow in your walk with Christ. My life verse is John 3:30: (it's where John the Baptist is talking to his disciples about Jesus) "Jesus must increase, I must decrease." I hope that comes through in my writing. Look for a new post every weekend. Feel free to offer suggestions for topics you would like to see me cover. For a taste of my lighter side visit my humor blog http://www.laughoutloudloveourlord.com
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