The disciples were watching something better than a 3-D holographic image and were on the verge of a genuine distraction. Life is full of dazzling things just waiting to derail us for our true mission.
Christ had been among them for forty days after His resurrection. There were a lot of details to teach about the kingdom of God. He appeared to them on a beach, in a house and alongside as they walked the roads. Belief in His resurrection was reinforced during that period and they were charged up with excitement and purpose.
Then came the final day he would be with them It was time to depart. They asked if the kingdom would be restored “at this time” (Acts 1:6 Acts 1:6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
American King James Version×). His answer told them there was work to be done before this wonderful event would occur. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×)
The Holy Sprit would be the driving force motivating them each day to take the message of Jesus Christ to their world. There would be resistance from many sources. Speaking the truth of the gospel would not be well received by every audience. But Jesus had promised them help, they would not be alone.
And then, while standing on the Mount of Olives, they watched as He bodily ascended into the sky and disappeared from their sight into a cloud. Luke tells us “they looked steadfastly toward heaven” (Acts 1:9-10 Acts 1:9-10 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
American King James Version×). It must have been quite a sight! No renaissance painting could capture the moment better than an eyewitness account. It was dazzling. You wonder whether the disciples must have later told Luke how utterly mesmerizing this moment was. It took two angels appearing out of nowhere to break the spell and get them moving forward.
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 Acts 1:11Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.
American King James Version×) What I read here is, “Get to work!” “Stop standing around letting distractions keep you from your life’s purpose.”
What dazzling things distract you from getting your job done? What resistance is keeping you from even finding the purpose for your life? Find the answer to these two questions and you can begin your journey in life.