Ascension and Pentecost:
Jesus Reigns in Heaven
and Gives Us God's Spirit
Ascension and the Promise of the Spirit
Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to his followers for forty days. While Jesus stayed with them, he gave them the following command: "Don't leave Jerusalem. Instead, wait here for the gift that I told you about, the one my Father promised you. Remember, John baptized you with water. But, in a few days, you will be baptized with God's Spirit!"
After that, they saw Jesus ascended into heaven. Soon, a cloud blocked their view. As they stared at the sky, two men stood before them in shining clothes. "Hey! Men from Galilee!" they said. "Why do you stand here looking up? You saw Jesus ascend into heaven. You will see him return the same way."
Based on Acts 1:4-5, 9-10
Before Jesus rose into heaven, he told his followers to wait for the Spirit. The Spirit would strengthen them for their mission: to spread the Good News. They may not have known then, but they would do amazing things wherever they went.
Jesus told his followers, "These signs will follow believers: In my name, they will throw demons out of people, they will say amazing things in different languages, they will pick up snakes, if they drink a deadly poison, they will not be hurt, and they will put their hands on the sick who will get better."
Based on Mark 16:17-18
With God's Spirit, Christians can handle the devil. (Remember the snake in the "Adam and Eve" story?) They can defeat evil (like the poison that will not harm them). They can help heal others in mind and body. The good works of Christians influenced others to listen to the words of God they spoke. God's Spirit changed the followers of Jesus. And, it would change those who saw ans listened to them.
Jesus went up to heaven. Now he lives with God the Father.
A few days later, the Spirit came. And everything changed for Jesus' followers.
When Pentecost day arrived, everyone gathered together in one place. Suddenly, a noise came from heaven that sounded like a violent wind. The noise filled the house where they sat. Then a fiery tongue spread out and sat on each person there. Everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit directed them to.
Devout Jews from all over the world lived in Jerusalem at the time. When they heard the disciples speaking, a large number of these people gathered together. The people in the crowd were confused because each one of the disciples spoke to them in their own language. They were stunned, and kept wondering, "Aren't all these people from Galilee? We hear them speak in the language where we were born. How can this be? We are from all over the world! Yet, all of us hear God's greatness proclaimed by these people in our own languages!"
Based on Acts 2:1-9, 12
The Spirit strengthened the followers of Jesus. He filled them with fiery courage. He gave them gifts of speech that could change the hearts of others. He formed the followers of Jesus into a Church. He invited all those who heard the followers of Jesus to join them in the Church.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he gathered with his followers in Galilee. There, he gave them a command and a promise: "Go everywhere and make followers in every nation. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I commanded you to do. Remember, I will be with you everyday until the end of time."
Based on Matthew 28:19-20
Full of faith, the followers of Jesus did proclaim God's word throughout the known world. Because of their zeal and the help of the Spirit, the Church grew. Today, the Church is found everywhere in the world. The Church is a sign that Jesus lives.
Truly, Jesus is with us. And he will always be with us.