Focal Passage: Acts 1:3-11
One of Mother Teresa’s ministries in Calcutta, India, was an orphanage. Unlike our wonderful Baptist Children’s Homes in North Carolina, the Calcutta orphanage received babies and small children who were often extremely malnourished and diseased.
Knowing that every day some of these babies would die, Mother Teresa would roam throughout the facility, identifying every child whom she expected to die that day. She would bring one of the sisters to the dying child, and give her this order: “Wrap the child in a gentle blanket and hold and soothe the child until it dies.” Mother Teresa said that no child should die alone and unloved.
Jesus, too, promised that His children would not be alone. The days following Jesus’ resurrection were filled with hope and optimism. Perhaps Jesus would stay with His disciples forever. But they became concerned when they realized Jesus would leave planet earth until the future time appointed by God the Father for His glorious return.
Acts 1:3-11 centers on Luke’s testimony of Jesus’ ascension back to heaven. It is a testimony of commandments and promises. Jesus commanded His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Father’s promise (v. 4): the Holy Spirit. Just as they had been previously baptized with water, this time they would be baptized with the Spirit’s presence and power (vv. 5, 8). The fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit would be effective ministry; beginning in Jerusalem and extending outwards to peoples and places where Jesus was previously unknown (v. 8).
Jesus’ disciples didn’t fully understand how He would never leave them yet, at the same time, ascend to the Father’s side. Jesus had told them about Him giving them “another Counselor” (John 14:16) who would be with them forever. This Counselor of promise is the Holy Spirit. We could define Him as Jesus unlimited by time and space and human body, and just as Jesus was present to advise and help them in the past, He would do the same in the future. They would never be alone.