Acts 1:1-11

I remember thinking
when I was a child about what it would be like without my grandmother.  She
lived across the road from me, and she had a daily presence in my life.  I couldn’t
imagine what it would be like without her.

Essentially, this is the question that Luke is answering for us: What
will life be like without Jesus?  The disciples had a daily relationship with Him.  They had witnessed His love for them and for others like them.  They experienced His compassion for the poor and oppressed, the lepers and prostitutes, the up
and out and the down and out.  They watched His life and learned how to live,
and they watched His death to learn how to die.  Now they found themselves in
a situation when the reality of the absence was going to impact their lives
as much as his presence.  What were they going to do without Him?

Jesus anticipated their angst and gave them hope for the future.  In
fact, things would be different, but they were going to see dramatic things
continue, maybe greater than they had seen in Jesus presence.  They were going
to be witnesses to things they couldn’t imagine.  How could it be better than

I may be over simplifying the situation, but it seems to me that I have
learned more from my mentors in their absence than in their presence.  In fact,
absence is not the right word.  I suppose we all have a collection of people
who are now dead who influence our lives.  They may be relatives, friends, colleagues,
professors, teachers or some other such acquaintances.  My point is they have
influenced me  far more after their deaths than before they died.

My grandmother died in 1989.  There is still not a day which passes where
she doesn’t influence me.  The reason for this is that we had a relationship. 
Relationships don’t end, they change.  Often through their deaths, we are bonded
to someone far more they in their living.  In fact, it is their death which
seals our living relationships.  In the same way, it was Jesus’ life that was
sealed by his death, resurrection and now his ascension which seals his life
for us to be challenged and directed in our own lives as we live in our own
worlds.  Jesus is not here.  He is ascended and sits at the right hand of God
the Father Almighty, waiting to come and judge the quick and the dead.

What are we going
to do without him?  Ignore him?  Work for him?  Follow him?  It seems to me
that we should struggle to find out what Jesus would do if he were  living my
life in my setting with my friends, family and acquaintances with my strengths
and abilities?   Based on that information, how should I adjust my life to meet
his example?  Instead of looking into the sky, we, too, have things to do in
the kingdom of God.


Sermon brief provided by: David R. Tullock, pastor of Parson’s Porch, a
ministry in Cleveland, TN

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