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Day 40

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Jesus’ ascension occurred 40 days after his resurrection. In the Jewish calendar, the harvest festival called Pentecost came 50 days after the Sabbath of Passover week—coinciding with Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. At this eventful Pentecost celebration, the Holy Spirit appeared like flames over the disciples’ heads and endued them with the Holy Spirit’s power and a new sense of God-with-us. During the 10 days between Jesus’ ascension to heaven and the Festival of Pentecost, the 11 disciples chose a replacement for Judas, and then spent most of their time praying and waiting for Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit to arrive. When the Holy Spirit came, the house rocked.

How have you seen the Holy Spirit at work in your life?

Today's devotional is from The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People (NIV). © 2011 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The Bible's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.

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