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Pastor Kimbrough’s Weekly Devotion:

Acts 1:1-11 - “Jesus Says ‘Good-bye’ To His Disciples”

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach  2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.  3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.  4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 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.”

 
Brothers and Sisters in the Lord.  Today, we celebrate the “ascension” that took place 40 days after Jesus had risen from the dead on Easter morning.  Throughout those 40 days, Jesus appeared to over 500 people giving proof of His resurrection and strengthening their faith.  This was important because His disciples would have to carry on His work of preaching and teaching about the kingdom of God. But, at the end of that 40 day period, it was time for Him to say “good-bye”.  After 3+ years of being almost constantly in their presence, of teaching them and comforting them, of personally giving them hope, He ascends up to Heaven as they watch.  Can’t you almost feel their human sorrow and sadness?  What are we going to do now?  Who will lead us? 
 
I think that all of us, at some time or other, have or will have to say “goodbye” to a close friend or relative.  Usually when we do, the “goodbye” will include 3 steps:  1) we remember fondly what we accomplished together; 2) we make a promise to keep in touch; and, 3) we make plans to see each other again.  On that first Ascension Day, as recorded by Luke in our text, we see all 3 of those steps.  He recalls Jesus’ words actions with His disciples regarding His work and sacrifice for the sins of the world.  He also records how Jesus promised that they would receive power to be His witnesses when the Holy Spirit would come upon them at Pentecost.  Then, we hear that, as they stood there looking up into the sky, 2 men dressed in white appeared with them.  “he shall return even as you see Him go up” was their promise.  That was the certain plan to see them again.
 
To be sure, our “good-byes” are so often sad.  They are sad because we will miss that person who is the object of our “goodbye”.  But, the good news comes from knowing why Jesus said “goodbye” to His disciples in the first place.  In the gospel of John, chapter 14:1-3, Jesus had told them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
 
Because of Jesus’ accomplished work here on earth, we have the blessed assurance that we and our Christian loved ones will someday have a joyful, everlasting reunion in Heaven.  Because of Jesus, someday we will never have to say “good-bye” again.



Pastor Raymond Kimbrough
414-254-6093 or 414-263-7614
rkimbro500@aol.com
 

Continuing Our Mission and Ministry
Our church still has ongoing ministry to conduct. We assume you will want to continue giving your offerings to the Lord. You may drop your offerings off at the school office, or send it in the mail (3012 N Holton Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212). Online giving is available from our website or click this link:  https://members.myeoffering.com/#/landing.



"Our Mission Statement"
(Our Purpose as a Church)

Our mission here at St. Philip’s Lutheran is outlined for us in Matthew 28:19: 'Go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.' Making disciples includes proclaiming God's Word in its truth and purity, strengthening the faith of those under our care, and reaching out to the people of our community, (including our unchurched friends and relatives). Let us pray for and work together toward this goal.