Acts 1:6-14 (NRSV)
Verse 6So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" Verse 7He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. Verse 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Verse 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. Verse 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. Verse 11They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."
Verse 12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. Verse 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. Verse 14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
The gathered disciples have been witnesses and participants in Jesus’ ministry on earth, including Jesus’ death and resurrection, and are now wondering what is going to happen next. They have asked Jesus a very hard question: “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus’ response stops the conversation in terms of earthly kingdom and turns it instead to God’s continuing work on earth with three promises: 1) You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; 2) You will be my witnesses; and 3) Jesus will return the same way as you saw him leave.
We also find ourselves with questions about how things will all work out in our lives, our families, communities, and in the world. Like those disciples we too, both young and older, are invited to devote ourselves to prayer as we ponder the fulfilling of Jesus’ promises in our lives through the Holy Spirit.
Loving God, thank you for always hearing our questions, our joys, and concerns. Remind us that you are always present with us through the Holy Spirit, guiding us and leading us as we seek to be your witnesses. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.