“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “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.” Acts 1.10-11
The image of the disciples standing in Galilee where Jesus ascended is reminiscent of a person standing on a street corner in New York City looking up towards a sky scraper. If someone were stopped looking upward, you most likely would stop as well. The disciples had been given instructions, they had everything they needed to begin the work of God but were stymied.
What were they waiting for? Jesus told them he had to go. He was very explicit in his plan to redeem them, save them from the power of sin and death. Doing so would involve his retreat. He needed to finish his work and return to the Father before the wheels were set in motion to save the world from their sins. And yet, their they stood. For how long? Minutes? Hours? Would they have remained for days?
Apparently God decided they needed a little help in moving along. So he sends two men dressed in white, angels mind you, to stand beside them. ”Men of Galilee”, they said, ”Why do you stand here looking into the sky? The same Jesus who has been take from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Consider the potential disciples’’ responses:
“So….we are good here?”
“We don’t have to just keep staying here looking like fools staring into space, do we?”
“Did we miss something?”
“Is it time to go?”
Jesus was lifted up to heaven and now the work begins. Time was being wasted as these followers of Christ waited for what’s next. They were stalled and needed a shove — God doesn’t send his angels done on meaningless missions. This was necessary — the people needed to move on.
Sometimes we get stuck. I don’t like getting stuck. I don’t like waiting. In a meeting, I like to make decisions and move forward. Sometimes this leads me to making a poor decision, but more than likely, it’s of the Lord’s leading. This is what I think God wanted/needed the disciples to do. To move on. To begin the mission of making disciples. To preach and proclaim the message.
What is Christ asking us to do which is getting slowed down by our inability to move on? Are we scared, afraid, uninterested or disobedient? Where is Christ wanting to use us to spread his love?
Today I challenge you to move. After prayer, faithful reading, and a commitment to the heart of Christ, move forward in mission. Remember the words of Jesus to go and make disciples and be faithful in that calling. Do the work set before you. Move your feet. Allow the risen Christ to work through you to redeem a world lost and alone.
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for allowing us to serve you. To be your hands and feet in a world in need of your love. Come now, Holy Spirit, send us out. Be in us and work through us to accomplish your mission. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen