TRANSITIONS... After-While, But Not UNTIL
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but STAY in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they STAYED continually at the temple, praising God.
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BlogFam, over the last few weeks, I have had conversations with so many different people who are in the midst of transition. Transitions are strategic junctures in our lives where every decision that we make can affect the very next season of our lives. Transitions can be filled with confusing emotions, clarifying questions, comforting fellowship, catastrophic separation, and convoluted directions even in the midst of continuous prayer. Transition necessarily means that a change is happening or is about to happen or will happen in your life. Transition means that in some way the Lord has been preparing you for this moment. The transition is not an indication that you have been attentive to the season of preparation, but in so many ways you have been made ready by the power of the Lord our God. Transition is a time when many of us will look back and see how everything really was working together for our GOOD even though we could not figure how in those moments past. Transitions can be hard or soft, fast or slow but no matter how they happen in our lives, one thing is common with every person in this world and it is this – Whether you are ready or not, A TRANSITION, A CHANGE WILL COME!
In our text for today, a transition is taking place. Jesus is giving His final instructions before He ascends to heaven to be with His Father. The same questions that we usually ask in the midst of transition are answered by Jesus for the disciples in our text for today. He tells them WHAT they will do as a result of this transition. He affirms WHO they are now because of this transition. He clarifies HOW and WHERE they are to prepare for this transition. He declares exactly WHEN they are to make the transition. AND the answers that Jesus gives to the disciples are relevant in helping us to discern the direction of the transitions in our own lives.
WHAT will the disciples/you do as a result of this transition?
First, Jesus quickly reviews all that has happened as a fulfillment of His purpose in the earth and of the prophetic proclamations of their ancestors. He tells them that everything that has happened is in the will of God. He suffered. He died. He was raised on the third day. So now, in this next season, as a result of this coming transition the disciples/you are to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins to all the nations, beginning at home in Jerusalem. NO, I am not telling all of my BlogFam to go out and get licensed and ordained unless that is the explicit call upon your life. However, I am saying that in this next season, as a result of the transition, you should have a greater witness on behalf of the Lord our God. You are to be a bolder witness for the Kingdom. This transition will amplify your voice to declare the goodness of the Lord because you know where the Lord has brought you from. If there is any doubt, then one question you can ask yourself is this – Will this transition grant me an expanded opportunity to declare the Lord’s name in the earth?
WHO are the disciples/you now as a result of this transition?
Jesus then says that YOU are witnesses of these things. In other words, Jesus makes it clear to the disciples/you that there is no other person for THIS assignment. The disciples/YOU have been especially chosen to carry out this next task when the transition takes place. The disciples/YOU are the expert because of all that you bring to the table – your experience, your personality,your knowledge, your gifts, and God’s favor have pre-selected you to excel in this next season. YOU are the witnesses of these things.
HOW and WHERE are the disciples/you to prepare for this transition?
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” In other words, the disciples/you are not going to be left alone in the midst of this transition. The disciples/you will be endowed with power from above to strengthen the disciples/you for this next season. However, do not move too quickly! STAY right where you are UNTIL you have received the power from on high!
This is where we can tend to mess up. Jesus basically tells the disciples,just as every word that He has spoken in the past has been fulfilled, so will the words that He speaks in this moment so do NOT be anxious. The disciples/YOUR change WILL come but there is one last finishing touch that the Holy Spirit will add to the disciples/you and you must not move before you receive that finishing touch of power from on high! Just be patient and STAY right there until you have been clothed with POWER from on high!
This instruction to STAY must have been very important because the very last verse of the chapter even confirms: AND THEY STAYED. I also appreciate that this statement is an indication of their obedience because obedience is critical in times of transition. It is so important to hear God clearly and to know for yourself what God is speaking to you in this time. Jesus told the disciples to stay AND THEY STAYED. But they did not stay and lose focus or get frustrated. I believe that because they trusted that the word of the Lord would indeed be fulfilled in their lives, they were at peace and were FREE to worship, be joyful, and stay continually at the temple praising God! The disciples were in the best place to transition with the favor and protection of the Lord by remaining in the temple. They poured themselves into praise because they knew that a transition,a change was going to come for them personally and through them for the nations internationally.
Friends, if you have your word from the Lord but it is not yet time to move, well, BE STILL and PRAISE GOD! I know this sounds so simple but it was one of the most critical pieces in preparation for the transition that was to come in the disciples’ life and in your life as well.
WHEN are the disciples/you to actually make the transition?
After-while, but not until. I know you are like WHAT in the world does that mean? But think about it. Read it one more time. It really does make sense. After-while, but not until. In other words, they did not know and I do not know either. Our timing is not God’s timing but AFTER we have done all that we are supposed to do where we are and WHILE we are waiting we continue to praise God UNTIL we have been endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit to be led into our next season. You will know. You will have peace. And you will see a change.
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
When Jesus made His transition from earth to heaven, He was ready. And when he left, he left while blessing and being a blessing to those he loved. Until His very last moment He was doing what he had come to do and as he was blessing His disciples, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
BlogFam, I pray that on today, you would trust the wisdom of God to answer every question in the midst of your transitions. I pray that you would be so sensitive to the moves of the Holy Spirit in your own life and I pray that just like Jesus, when it is your time to make your transition, you would leave in peace and be remembered as a blessing to those with whom you have loved and served.
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