94 – The Christ Departs in Glory
Where: Mount of Olives, Judea
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It was Tuesday night when Jesus again met with the Apostles and disciples in the upper city of Jerusalem [model]. The Christ reminded all the gathered Apostles and disciples that God’s promise of a Messiah was now fulfilled. But he was interrupted. ‘When will you restore the Kingdom of David that God promised?’ he was asked.
The Christ told them that the timing of the revelation of the kingdom was up to the Father, and then continued. ‘God’s promise of a Messiah is fulfilled…just not in the way everyone expected. Not a physical kingdom…but a spiritual one. Not a king…but a servant. Not living by sight…but by faith. Not saved by obeying an external law…but by God’s gift of forgiveness’.
The Christ showed how the suffering, death and resurrection, fulfilled the Spirit of the Hebrew scripture to have faith despite appearances. Now that the Apostles had begun to understand the truth of what had happened, they began to feel a new Spirit within them. More at peace. More convinced of God’s true will. More bold.
All night they listened, questioned, and learned. ‘What must we do now, Lord?’ they asked excitedly. The Christ told them that they must shoulder the mission that the religious leaders had rejected. They must be God’s light to the world, bring true justice to all, and draw all folks to God. ‘Some of you must witness to the Jews in Jerusalem, telling them that ALL have fallen short of obeying God’s law, that God loves them, that they must believe that it is God’s desire to forgive their sins, and that they need to repent’, The Christ told them. ‘Then you shall witness throughout Judea and Samaria, and then to the whole world’, said The Christ.
‘You will be able to perform “signs” with the power of God, in order to attract the attention of non-believers. You must encourage others to believe (and if they believe, they will want to be baptized). Those who choose to disbelieve will not be members of our new family.’
The Christ told them that he was ascending and would not be personally leading them as he had in the past. Most had great difficulty visualizing how such a mission could be accomplished, until The Christ told them that if they stayed in Jerusalem eventually God would baptize them with the Holy Spirit, and that they would be guided and empowered for their mission.
At first light on Wednesday morning, the 40th day since the resurrection, The Christ led the Apostles and disciples out of the city, across the Kidron Valley bridge, and up onto the hill to the east of Jerusalem. They passed the garden of Gethsemane and climbed on toward the top of the Mount of Olives that oversees Jerusalem. A cloud covered the hilltop in the pre dawn light. The Apostles and disciples stopped and The Christ went just a bit further up the hill.
Then The Christ turned and faced [today] the Apostles and disciples looking west to the city of Jerusalem. He raised his hands over them, and blessed them. At the rising of the sun, a breeze sent the cloud swirling around Jesus, and the Apostles and disciples saw him no more. All that the folks saw was the shining cloud, and they remembered that on Sinai, Moses had experienced the Shekina (the glory of God) as a cloud.
As the folks stared up at the cloud, two men in bright robes startled them. ‘Folks, why stare at the cloud.’ ‘He will come again in the glory of God, just as you saw him go’, they said.
And as the gathered followers realized that he was truly gone, they went back to Jerusalem more excited with each step. By the time the Jerusalem group entered the house, at around 7 am, they were actually singing psalms of praise to God.
No questions have been asked yet.