Few of us enjoy saying goodbye, especially to family members and close friends, when we have spent some quality time together. Often the final words spoken on departure remain with us and can be very significant. Our three-year-old granddaughter, when saying goodbye to her Daddy each morning as he goes off to work, is “Bye, Daddy. Do your best!”
The Christian Church has recently celebrated the Ascension of Jesus, that time when Jesus returned to heaven, leaving behind His family and those friends who had been so close to Him for three years. In His final words Jesus promised that His friends would receive power to enable them to tell people everywhere about Him; ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8). That responsibility has been carried out by faithful followers of the Lord, down through the centuries and across every continent of the world from that time, and continues to this day.
A little time prior to His ascension Jesus had also said 'Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:19). Quite an awesome responsibility! - not only to preach the Gospel, but also to ensure the new converts are taught so that they understand and follow the teachings of Jesus.
As present day followers of Jesus, are we doing our best to ensure that we are carrying out that responsibility to tell others about Jesus, and demonstrating in our own lives what it means to be a follower of Jesus?
When we feel inadequate for the task, a little apprehensive, or a little fearful, there is encouragement to be found in both verses quoted above. In the first (Acts1:8) Jesus promises His power to help us so that we don’t have to depend on our own ability (or lack of it), and in the second (Matthew 28:19), He promises His presence, so we don’t have to feel alone, as we carry out His instructions.
As we wait for the Lord’s return, let’s not be found wanting, but let’s all do our best to further the purpose of His Kingdom here on earth. ‘So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better’ (2 Peter 1: 5).
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, please help me to do my best in telling and showing others what it means to be one of Your followers. Amen.
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