Before beginning his ministry, Jesus spends forty days in the wilderness in preparation. After his resurrection, Jesus spends forty days preparing his disciples for their ministry. He takes them through a review, “opening their minds to understand the scriptures,” especially how scriptures have been fulfilled through him.
Jesus commissions the disciples to witness to what they have seen and heard, know in their hearts, and understand with their minds. Jerusalem is the starting place for them, and the whole world is their mission field. Jesus promises them power for ministry and blesses them. The blessing leaves the disciples filled with joy as they watch Jesus ascend, and then they return to Jerusalem, praising God and waiting. Here, the disciples are upbeat, aware, actively waiting, blessing God—unlike the disciples in Acts 1:6.
The end of anything is the beginning of something. For these disciples, the end of what they have known with Jesus no longer produces anxiety: They anticipate the beginning of “something.” They connect Jesus’ resurrection to his rightful place at God’s right hand with his commissioning, blessing, and sending them to wait for the promised power. As God is steadfast, these disciples resolve to fulfill their newly received commission steadfastly. They and Christ set the bar for us today.
Possibilities for your reflection include these:
• an ending or beginning you have experienced and its effect on your life,
• where and how you link the old and the new in your faith,
• your experience(s) of the commissioning and blessing of Jesus for ministry,
• how you are clothed with God’s power.
Sending God, clothe me with your power that I may be a steadfast witness wherever you send me. Amen.