Please open your Bible and read Acts 1:1-11
One of John Ortberg’s popular books is titled “If you Want to Walk on Water, you have to get out of the Boat“. Although the title alludes to when Peter tried to walk on water (and succeeded, albeit briefly; (Matthew 14:22-33) this quote also applies to the apostles, just after Jesus ascended to heaven.
As Jesus “was taken up before their very eyes“, the apostles “were looking intently up into the sky” (Acts 1:9-10). Just before this, Jesus told them “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.” (v8) Yet after Jesus ascends apostles just stand there. How often do we do the same? God’s instructions are clear to us, but we just can’t seem to get going.
I can imagine the apostles were worried when Jesus left them. How would they survive without Him? They left their homes, jobs, and everything else behind to follow Him. And now He was leaving? But this is no excuse, and their lack of action prompts two angels to appear to them, who say “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.” (v11)
The angels gave them the reason not to worry: Just as Jesus had been taken away, He will return. Luke’s gospel tells us how the apostles responded to the angels: “They worshipped [Jesus] and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” (Luke 24:52) Their confidence was restored by God’s promise, which is trustworthy and true. And this confidence prompted them into action!
The question is am I standing around, staring up at the sky? Or am I actively living out Jesus’ command to be witnesses to the ends of the Earth?
What’s holding you back from being an active witness? If you want to witness, you have to start witnessing! If your spiritual life lately has felt more like stargazing than navigating, it may be time to re-read the book of Acts and be inspired by the lives of some of the earliest Christian servants. I assure you that you are more ready than you realize, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:12)
What’s holding you back?
By Darren Hewer
Used by Permission