Daily Worship

The return ticket

Campbell Dye May 10, 2018 0 1
Image credit: Pixabay

Acts 1: 1-11

1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

Acts is really volume 2 of Luke. As a lawyer I get really excited by Luke’s fact-rich, evidence-based approach to telling his story. He tells us in his Gospel that he has checked everything out with eye witnesses.   

In both books, Luke is very careful to show that what God promises, he fulfils. The start of Acts (this passage) is a bit like the 30 second recap you get on Netflix - a summary to give you the context and remind you how the last episode ended. But Luke also focuses on how what Jesus said after the resurrection then came to pass and, of course, he goes on further in Acts to tell more and more of how the church was born.

This is not, however, just some clever narrative trick to ensure the reader keeps up. This is a very important fundamental “thing” about our God. He keeps his word. When he makes a promise, he carries it out. Jesus is the ultimate expression of that.   

And so, when Luke says that Jesus is coming back, it’s not wishful thinking or some kind of coping mechanism. Jesus IS coming back. We don’t know when, but we will know it when it happens.

So while we should still be upset and outraged by the injustice and suffering in the world around us (and must play our part to bring about change) we must never lose hope. Below the turmoil of the pain we feel and which we see in others, we can have a deep and immovable peace that knows God has it under control. We can have confidence that every tear will be wiped away in God’s own time. In times of grief, despair or suffering, that peace can be unexpected and life changing.


Father we do not understand why there must be pain and suffering in our world when we know you love the world so much that you gave your only Son for us. Keep us offended by injustice and outraged by evil and show us how we can act to bring your kingdom into this world. But do not take from us the peace of knowing that you remain sovereign and the victory is already yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.