He is Risen, Therefore – why are you standing around?

He is Risen!  Therefore…SAMSUNG

Why are you standing around?

Acts 1:1-11

 In Jesus Name

May you go out from this place, realizing that the grace, mercy and peace of God is with you, with the understanding that is it more glorious when you share it with others!

The Memorial Acclimation:  

The words are familiar…..

“Christ has died!  Christ has Risen, Christ will come again!”

At least, they should be to those of us who regularly gather here.  We say something like them when we testify of our faith, using the words of the Creed.  We sing them occasionally, too, when Chris puts the Memorial Acclimation in the service.

How often do we do those things anyways?  ( both every week, twice in lent and advent!)

Yet I wonder if we hear them, when we do?

I think we get that He has died, for we celebrate that constantly.  And that He is Risen? (He has Risen Indeed, Alleluia!  And therefore  We are risen indeed!)

But what about that last part, words similar to those two men, who spoke to the disciples, while they were just staring off into, well as they were staring off into space.

They ended the discussion with these words, “but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

Do we hear those words?  I mean, not just like hearing them as the sound waves travel in one ear and out the other.  But hearing those words, and having them stick to our very soul.  Do we hear that Jesus Christ will come again?  Do we know it, count on it, live our lives in view of it?

Or do we need to hear the first words of the two men in white….

Men, why are you standing here, staring into heaven?

But why do we stand around like the apostles?

As I read the entire story, recorded by Luke for his friend, Theophilus, I wonder about these apostles, and I guess I am not surprised by their standing around.  They weren’t the quickest to understand something.

Consider this.

in verse 2, we see that Jesus, in the forty days he walked with the apostles, had to prove to them in many ways that he was alive.  That just seems more unbelievable than believing that someone could rise from the dead in the first place!

In the upper room twice, on the shores of Lake Galilee, appearing to Peter one other time, and I imagine that when the resurrected Jesus appeared to 500 as Paul writes about, some of the apostles were probably there!

Yet he still has to teach them, proving to them He was alive!  Even that day, for Matthew 28 says, Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17  When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Matthew 28:16-17 (NLT)

It seems strange, that these men who walked with Jesus more than three years, who saw His wounds, who saw Him heal, who heard Him teach would still struggle to put together everything.  Yet in those forty days, Jesus continued to invest Himself in His chosen men.

He went over the same lessons that He taught them prior to the cross, At least four times Jesus talked about the coming of God’s kingdom, and that it wasn’t known until it was revealed.  At the last supper it was an issue, and here at the ascension, it still is!  “When will we see you reigning over the world Lord?” they asked.

Maybe we still do?

Among the things He kept teaching them, indeed twice in this passage, is that they would be His witnesses.  He had to keep letting them know that they would testify of what people needed to know about Jesus, to the world.  He actually commissions them to this in verse 2, and then reminds them again in verse 8!

Yet, after all that, they are standing around, staring up into space?

Is it any wonder that we have the same issues today?

If we are like the apostles, what made a difference in their lives will make a difference in our lives, as we become witnesses of His to this world.

You see in the middle of the passage – Jesus reminds them that they will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.  That the Holy Spirit will come into their lives, and that this is the reason they will be able to tell people about His life, his death, resurrection and that He is coming back.

That is part of what Jesus taught them, about the role of the Holy Spirit.  In John 14, Jesus promised,

25  “I have told you this while I am still with you. 26  The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. John 14:25-26 (TEV)

This includes us by the way, for even as the Apostles were baptized in the Spirit, so were you and I, when we were baptized in Christ. That what these apostles heard and saw, over and over, we too will recall.  Prodded by the Holy Spirit, and those messengers that might just say to us, “why are you standing here, looking into space?”

Sharing our faith isn’t about the law – a duty enforced on us, any more than having the grace of God our father, the love and mercy show to us in Christ is.  It is what happens when Jesus is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, as we are continually taught about that love and mercy, and the Kingdom of God, and the day we shall see it.

It is what we are commissioned to do, because we are the children of God, sent into places like Cerritos, and Downey, La Palma and Buena Park and Lakewood.  Sent to places like China, or the Philippines or Northern California, or even the doctor’s office or Walmart, to be His witnesses.

Even as we are in awe of God’s presence among us, even as we consider that Christ has Died, Christ has risen (wait for it), and yes, He will come again…….even as all that goes through our mind, it is time to stop standing around, and it is time to bring the news of God’s love to this lost and broken world.

We can do it, because we know that we dwell in the peace of God that passes all understanding, a peace in which Christ guards our hearts and minds… and therefore, we don’t have to just stand around!

AMEN?

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on May 27, 2014, in Sermons and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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