“While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into Heaven.” Luke 24:51
Mel Gibson’s epic film, “The Passion,” provided a powerful portrayal of the events swirling around and ending with the crucifixion of Jesus. To his credit, Mr. Gibson put his heart and soul into this project, leaving very little to the viewers’ imagination. Every detail of the sights and sounds of that brutal experience was included. Nothing appeared edited or sanitized to make it more acceptable to the audience. It was riveting, and repulsive.
Anyone who views “The Passion” will be confronted with the mind-numbing cruelty poured out upon Jesus. It is impossible for even the most calloused-hearted cynic to leave without a deeper appreciation for the price The Savior paid on the cross.
Like “Titanic” and “Gettysburg” there is no secret about how “The Passion” ends. Jesus died. Though the closing scenes hinted at the rest of the story, some may have missed it. Wait for it. SPOILER ALERT: Jesus is alive!
Following His resurrection, The Risen Christ gathered His discouraged and defeated disciples around Him. For 40 days, He walked and talked with His disciples, sharing with them His vision about The Kingdom.
“To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what The Father had promised.” Acts 1:3-4
November 10, 1942, Winston Churchill delivered a speech to the mayors of England, entitled, “The Bright Gleam of Victory.”
During the darkest days of World War II, Churchill took the stage to give hope to the leaders of his nation. After a great victory in North Africa, he celebrated with them, but reminded them the final victory was still ahead. Filling his nation’s leaders with hope, Churchill rallied them to finish the fight against a relentless enemy.
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Winston Churchill
After saying a blessing over His disciples, Jesus ascended into Heaven. He had told them it was to their advantage for Him to go way, but He would not leave them helpless or hopeless. He would provide them power of the resurrection through the promise ofThe Person of The Holy Spirit.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away the Helper shall not come to you, but if I go I will send Him to you.” John 16:7
“This promise is no lullaby for the faint-hearted. It is a blood transfusion for courageous living.” E. P. Hovey
The sight of The Risen Christ rising into Heaven must have heart thrilling and bone chilling. Peter, the strongest among them, had a dismal track record of failure, and in their own strength, the rest of the disciples had very little prospect of victory. While they were looking into Heaven, angels were sent to deliver a message of hope.
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into Heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11
Peter led the disciples back to the upper room to obey the last command of Jesus. For ten days the disciples would pray for The Promise of The Father.
“These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.” Acts 1:14
Peter never led with more purpose and was never more on point than when he led a ten-day prayer meeting. The contemporary church needs no less of the power of the resurrection. The Spirit’s power is always found by obeying the command of The Savior to pray and to wait for the promise of God. Anything less will not call down the power of Heaven so desperately needed for victory on earth. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus were all a prelude to the Acts of The Holy Spirit. The victory Jesus won over death, hell and the grave was a prelude to the same victory the Spirit of the living Christ provides for His obedient followers today. Celebrating the crucifixion of Jesus without appropriating the power of His resurrection leads to defeat, not victory. A praying church reveals the power of the resurrection.
NOTE TO SELF: Jesus is praying for you. Can you hear Him? Prayer opens your eyes to see Jesus seated at the right hand of The Father, and prayer tunes your ears to hear the sound of His voice. The power of the resurrection is a breath away. Pray your way into His Presence with a fresh breath of obedience.
TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!