Jesus didn’t stop doing His work here on earth when He ascended into heaven. Read about it in today’s devotion, which comes from Concordia Pulpit Resources.
If you feel like you’re standing in front of a closed door, if you had your heart set on going in a particular direction but now it seems as though you’re being blocked, if God appears to be denying some wish you cherished, if you can’t see the big picture or how this will all work out, or if you are weary right now with frustrations piling up, then today’s text is aimed at you. St. Luke wrote it down to help you believe that Christ is Lord over your frustrations.
Today’s text is from Acts, a book that begins with wonderful good news. Acts 1 describes the day Jesus ascended to heaven, forty days after Easter—in other words, the day He left this world. Acts begins with a huddled group of believers, praying in one lonely room in Jerusalem. Every Christian on the face of the earth fit into one room at that time. By the end of Acts just twenty-eight years later, the Good News of Christ had spread far. One of Christ’s apostles was getting ready to tell it to the emperor in Rome.
In verses 6–7, we hear the disciples ask Jesus if this is now the time that He will restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus responds, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority.” This was surely hard on the disciples. They were told they were to be Jesus’ witnesses to Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (v. 8). But when? How?
Take these few brief verses and imagine in detail how this time must have felt for people of faith who wanted to serve Christ but were left in the dark; imagine the stress and irritation and then maybe even the doubts creeping in about whether they were doing the right thing at all. Imagine that stuff, and you know what? Acts 1 may start looking like the frustrations you have had to endure at various times. Maybe one of those times is still with you.
The blessings God brings forth often turn out much better than if we’d always gotten our first choice and everything had happened without roadblocks. The missionaries-to-be of Acts 1 likely didn’t appreciate that at first, frustrated and confused as they were for a while. But they were in good hands. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they got to see the work of God firsthand.
Christ is Lord over your life. He opens up opportunities, fruitful ones, for you to be His witness right where you are. God isn’t running your life by accident. He has a reason for you living when you do and in the circumstances you are. In that position—in other words, in your real life—He knows how to bless the words you say for Christ, the influence you bring, and many times even the example you show in handling your frustration.
A great Ascension season exercise would be to open your Bible to John’s Gospel and read chapters 14–16. There Jesus told His people what it would be like after He ascended and all the things He would keep doing for them. Well, He is doing all those things for you in your real life. At the end of those chapters, He speaks this promise. It has your name all over it: “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God give you the faith to trust that indeed it is so.
Devotional reading is adapted from Concordia Pulpit Resources, Vol. 20, Part 2, Series C, Ascension Day sermon © 2010 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Video is of “O Jesus, Savior, Stay with Us” © 2018 Concordia Publishing House.