Ascending and Descending

Acts 1:6-14
Matthew 25:31-46

I just noticed it for the first time; instead of angels, there are two men in white robes sending the disciples back home after Jesus ascends (verse 10, Acts 1:6-14). And, the men aren’t floating above the heads of the disciples, but standing beside them. Luke then reminds us of the geography; the disciples need to walk down hill in order to ender the city of Jerusalem. Once in the city, they don’t go to the posh neighborhood on the upper Northwest corner. They go to the upper room which was conveniently near the market place center of the city. We are being told, by all this body language, that the proper response to the reality of God’s incarnation in Jesus Christ is to go focus on the mundane. What do people in the city need? Is is possible that those beside us are angels in disguise? How do we treat the people we live with, knowing that as we feed and clothe the poor, and visit the sick and imprisoned, we are serving the Lord of Heaven (Matthew 25:31-46)?


Another thing people often miss, is that there are women in the Upper Room. As the disciples wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, they fellowshipped, shared bread, and pray with a crowd of about 120 believer. Half of these may have been women. They are mentioned here because they will a significant role in the day to day life of the church the Holy Spirit will create, that is, they will be in leadership.


Finally, I have to note that Jesus’ family are present in the Upper Room. Jesus had been dismissive of them. While he was doing the work of the Gospel, his family kept wanting him to return home and enter a 12 step program for people who have a messiah complex. His brother James would later become the leader of the church in Jerusalem, so it is good that he is in the Upper Room praying with the others for the Holy Spirit. The fact that this Galilean family is here in Jerusalem shows that they have had a conversion. They have left the “We want Jesus for ourselves” status of most church goers, and become missionaries to the city of Jerusalem.

Easter 7
Ascension of Jesus