If Luke’s Gospel were a movie, “to be continued” might appear on the screen as its final scene comes to a close. These verses near the end of Luke suggest that the story is not yet complete. The sequel entitled Acts will soon follow.
In this last scene of Luke, Jesus tells his disciples, I am sending upon you what my Father promised (v. 49). The Holy Spirit will come to Jesus’ disciples and the Church will be born. Though Jesus quickly ascends and physically leaves these followers, they return to Jerusalem with great joy (v. 52). The one they follow will equip them for the life to come. They will not be left alone or without hope.
I tend to read Scripture focused solely on the history of the encounters it contains. When I approach the Bible this way, I often regret that I wasn’t one of Jesus’ original followers who physically saw him. Yet his final words to those disciples make it clear that the experiences of those of us who recognize him as the Messiah thousands of years later do not make us second-rate disciples. Christ will continue to call new disciples to follow him, just as he called the first followers to come and see. When we recognize Jesus for who he is, we unite with disciples through the ages who have shared this same experience of discovering God’s grace and living in Christ’s love. Despite the distance of time between Luke’s gospel and now, our experiences parallel theirs.
Like the Ethiopian eunuch, nothing prevents you from following Jesus. Nothing prevents you from stepping into the baptismal pool. And just like the disciples in Luke, you are loved and called by God to proclaim your story in Jesus’ name. You are God’s beloved child.
How has God’s Spirit equipped you to serve Christ’s mission in the world?
God, thank you for opening our minds and helping us to understand you. Help us continue to seek you and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all we do. Amen.