We can only imagine the joy of the Apostles on Easter Sunday night, when they truly realized that Jesus had overcome the scourge of sin and death and that they had Him back. Now, as they came to realize that He was leaving them once again, they were filled with a variety of emotions. There was the sadness, the grief, of knowing that He was going away. And maybe even more disturbing was the fear that He was entrusting the Church to them, and they had not proven themselves to have any inkling of what they were doing. Once again, He had to assure them to not be afraid.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus reveals to them what has come to be known as the Great Commission. “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out all that I have told you. And know that I am with you until the end of the age.” This is still the mission of the Church: to make disciples throughout the world, to baptize them, and to teach them what Jesus had handed over to them.
Finally, He let them know that they were not quite ready yet to fulfill this mission. So, He told them to go to Jerusalem and wait, and they would receive power when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. This Spirit would give them the courage and strength that they needed to carry out this mission in the face of opposition from the Romans and the Jewish leaders. He would also give them the wisdom and guidance that they needed to be able to understand what they were to do.
And then, Jesus was taken up into the cloud, into the Godhead, where He would reign until He returned to bring forth the Kingdom in its fullness.
–Fr. Mike Comer