As Jesus ascended, and the disciples looked into heaven, two men in white robes stood beside them and asked, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (1:11). I don’t know, maybe I’m being a bit irreverent and ungracious here, but I want to suggest to the crowd that was gathered there, “Really? I mean, really? He told you, beforehand, that all this was going to take place! Why are you so surprised? Were you not paying attention?” On the other hand, I understand, and I would probably have reacted in the same way.
In commendation of the disciples, they immediately got busy doing what they needed to do. They needed to replace Judas and, so, they chose Matthias. As they gathered in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit descended, they spoke in other languages, and Peter stood up and preached Jesus. They baptized those who believed. And they continued to devote themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, and they broke bread regularly and prayed together (2:42).
Just this thought, though there are many more, perhaps deeper and more significant, lessons here: Life is full of surprises. Things change. But God is over it all, and the faithful servant of God just puts one foot in front of the other. Daily faithfulness and the steady running of the race is what is required.
Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve,
And press with vigor on;
A heavenly race demands thy zeal,
And an immortal crown.
A cloud of witnesses around
Hold thee in full survey;
Forget the steps already trod,
And onward urge thy way. –Philip Doddridge (1755)