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The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. . . (Acts 1:1-3)

Holy Spirit painting

Holy Spirit painting (Photo credit: hickory hardscrabble)

The time between the Rescurrection and the Ascension is forty days. This in-between time was filled with visits from Y’shuaJesus. The visits, I think, were to bolster the faith of those who just weren’t sure about Y’shuaJesus’s mission. Some had believed He was to be a physical savior for the nation of Israel, freeing it from the Roman Empire, leading a Maccabee-type revolt. Others just didn’t understand at all. Disciples discussed the events among themselves. Like the disciples on the road to Amaoz. The disciples all needed to feel the burning in their hearts of the presence of Y’shuaJesus. They needed to be reminded of their true missions.

This time between also must have been a time of trial. The number of days between the Resurrection and the Ascension caught my attention. Forty. It is the number of days Y’shuaJesus was in the wilderness, tempted. It was the number of years Israel spent wandering in the desert. It was the number of Ali Baba’s thieves. (It’s okay to smile, this isn’t your trial/test.) There were a lot of forty-year periods in Moses’s life. After being tossed into the river, he was groomed to be an Egyptian prince for forty years. Then he let his anger get the best of him, and spent forty years in the wilderness. As if eighty years of testing weren’t enough, he gets called back to Egypt to rescue a rather stiff-necked people, and suffer trials with them for another forty years. Not such a great retirement package!

It seems to me our own lives are times in between. I’d thought perhaps we were here just waiting. But it looks more like we’re also being tested the whole time here. Even if we’ve experience a moment of Power from on High, a Pentecost of our own with an in-filling of the Holy Spirit, we are still in test mode. Isn’t life in Messiah exciting? He called us, like He called His disciples and Apostles. He walked with us a while, like He did with them. Then He leaves us for some testing and tribulation, stopping by every now and again to make sure our faith is bolstered, that we remain strong.

But oh, how glorious are those time in His embrace!

And His Spirit He gave to us to give us His Strength, His Power. No, not to get out of the test, but to deal with it. There’s a line in one of the Lord of the Rings books, in which Frodo is in a very dark and gloomy forest. He says something in about it certainly not being a sunny walk in May. He’s scared. He feels lost. Then he looks ahead and sees the sun, shining onto the end of the path. It’s like that with our lives, I think: we aren’t just walking a nice path along the river’s edge. We are running a track meet, an obstacle course, jumping hurdles. There is a promise to a feast for the winner. And we are all winners in Messiah, if we have given ourselves to Him, if we’ve accepted His way of salvation. All will eventually acknowledge Y’shuaJesus. All will eventually knell before King Y’shuaJesus and declare that indeed He is Lord. Will we do it now, while it is still Day, before the Night comes to take some away?

Thank you Lord Y’shuaJesus!

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .