Jesus’ parting words before his ascension
On one occasion, while he was eating a meal with them, he emphasised that they were not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise.
“You have already heard me speak about this,” he said, “for John used to baptise with water, but before many days are passed you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”
This naturally brought them all together, and they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
To this he replied, “You cannot know times and dates which have been fixed by the Father’s sole authority. But you are to be given power when the Holy Spirit has come to you. You will be witnesses to me, not only in Jerusalem, not only throughout Judea, not only in Samaria, but to the very ends of the earth!”
When he had said these words he was lifted up before their eyes till a cloud hid him from their sight. While they were still gazing up into the sky as he went, suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them and said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking up into the sky? This very Jesus who has been taken up from you into Heaven will come back in just the same way as you have seen him go.”
At this they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives which is near the city, only a sabbath day’s journey away. On entering Jerusalem they went straight to the upstairs room where they had been staying. There were Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas the son of James. By common consent all these men together with the women who had followed Jesus, Mary his mother as well as his brothers devoted themselves to prayer.
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As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. 5John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”
When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?”
He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”
These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared–in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!-why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly–and mysteriously–as he left.”
Returning to Jerusalem
So they left the mountain called Olives and returned to Jerusalem. It was a little over half a mile. They went to the upper room they had been using as a meeting place:
Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas, son of James.
They agreed they were in this for good, completely together in prayer, the women included. Also Jesus’ mother, Mary, and his brothers.