Acts 1:6-14 Psalm 68:1-10, 32-351 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11 John 17:1-11
Jesus is not here on earth. You can look for him from Mt. Rogers, but you won’t find him. You can look for him in the depths of the New River, but you won’t find him. Where did he go?
Forty days after Jesus rose from the grave, Jesus ascended into heaven. How Jesus ascended we will never know. Where exactly Jesus is in relation to the Milky Way Galaxy, we will never know. When Jesus is coming back, we have to trust God the Father to know that exact timing.
Until Jesus returns to this earth, there is one thing for us to be doing. That is, we are to be about getting ready to go. You most likely have heard through the grapevine, that you must be baptized and become a member of a church in order to be ready for heaven. Well, I don’t think we have heard the entire truth. Why haven’t we heard the entire truth? Because hearing just part of it is so easy!
It is hard to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Why is it hard to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Well, your expectations get smashed. Jesus is not going to run the ruling party out of office so that you may have it your way. The next church won’t solve your issues with church people. The next pastor won’t solve your issues with the current pastor. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ involves prayer and being one as Jesus & the Father are one.
A. After Jesus ascension, the disciples were praying (Acts 1:6-14)
- Jesus was ready to go – he had instructed his disciples what to do
- Wait for power from the Holy Spirit
- Be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, & the ends of the earth
- The disciples stared after him when he ascended
- From the mount called Olivet they went into Jerusalem
- They went to the upper room for prayer, together
- The Eleven
- Jesus’ mother & the women
- Jesus’ brothers
- When was the last time you prayed with someone in your pew? In your household? In the church parking lot? How about now, is now a good time to pray for the people sitting in the pew around you? Let’s give it a try. This is your prayer: “Lord, help this one next to me receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon this one. May this one be a witness for Jesus, wherever you need this one to be a witness. I ask this in the Name of Jesus.” Now, I know that it was not easy. We are not used to praying for each other this way. But this is sort of what Jesus was praying for in the upper room just 41 days before.
B. Jesus prayed for us to be one (John 17:1-11)
- He is the one who is above all others (Psalm 68)
- Jesus is his son
- Glorify me & you – you set me in a good place
- They know your name – they have seen your work and heard your ways
- Since they are in the world, protect them, so that they be one, as we are one
- The spirit of glory will rest on us – even during suffering (1 Peter 4:12-14)
- Humble ourselves – let him exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:6-11)
- Discipline yourselves so you may flee from the devil
- God himself will restore, support, strengthen & establish you
- In order for us to be one, as Jesus and the Father are one, we pray with each other. We pray with each other in our Sunday School classes. We pray with each other in our UMW/Willing Hands, in UMM, and in choir. We work through the idea that everyone in the church might talk about us. We build trust. We realize that Jesus has brought us together – because we believe God sent Jesus! We can be one. It is harder than the easy faith we have heard about for so long in our lives. Yet, we know that God the Father will be protecting us along the way. We trust God and other disciples along the way.
When we receive power from the Holy Spirit, we will know it. And the world will know we have received power from the Holy Spirit. It won’t look like the church we are used to seeing. It will be different.
Why will it be different? Because we will have actually prayed for each other to receive power from the Holy Spirit and we will be different! We will be able to witness, wherever the Holy Spirit leads us. And we will be one, just as Jesus and God are one. We will let the world know we belong to God through Jesus Christ. Isn’t it time for us pray with each other? Isn’t it about time for all disciples of Jesus to be one?