The Ascension of the Lord and the Promise of the Holy Spirit

Jesus Christ, during his life on earth was a brilliant communicator as he demonstrated through his parables, sermons instructions and teachings but especially through his actions. This latter, is particularly noticeable during his risen life when he needed to help his disciples to understand that he was not a ghost or a vision or a hallucination. He let them feel him, touch him see and touch his wounds.
Many times he had told them he would rise from the dead on the third but they had not understood. He gently challenged them

"Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have ’And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Luke 24:38-43

However, Jesus' most spectacular teaching aid must surely be his Ascension; his final return to Heaven and to the Father who had sent him. more

Once the Apostles finally believed Jesus had truly risen, that he was the same human person they loved and followed, they got used to his coming and going and thought this would continue. They were devastated when Jesus told them he was returning to the Father who had sent him and they would see him no longer. He instructed them to wait in the city until they received ‘power from on high’ to go out and spread the good news to the ends of the earth. Then as they watched he ascended upwards into the sky.

We can only imagine what a mixture of amazement, sadness, dismay, and fear they experienced as they watched him slowly disappear from their sight. They must have finally understood this message. He was gone from the earth. He would no longer walk with them, talk with them, or eat with them, as a human person. They must have felt desperately bereft as they walked back to the city and waited fearfully for whatever the 'power on high' might be.

With hind sight we know something of the power of the Holy Spirit and what the Apostles were empowered to achieve once they had received the Holy Spirit. The transformation in these fearful, doubting men leaps out at us from the pages of the Scriptures.

The speech of Peter on that first Pentecost day is a stunning example. He speaks with power, authority and with complete understanding of the meaning and purpose of Christ’s mission on earth. This humble fisherman, could now interpret for the people of all nations gathered around him, how Jesus fulfilled all prophesies made about Him that were written in their Scriptures.

As we prepare to celebrate once again the coming of the Holy Spirit into our world we may be forgiven for wondering why we do not experience that powerful presence today. Why the growing agnosticism and atheism in our own country? Why the violence and crime? Why such atrocities in the name of God.
Perhaps we need to bring these and other questions that arise for us to the Holy Spirit in the depths of our own hearts.
We may find it helpful to revisit to revisit the gallery below.