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After Jesus died and came back to life, he showed himself alive, alive, alive to over 500 people. For over 40 days His disciples saw Him at different times, and He talked to them about the Kingdom of God. One day He told them, “Don’t leave Jerusalem. Wait there for what My Father promised. Remember what I told you: John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. And it’s going to happen very soon. So, wait, wait, wait for it. You’ll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, so you need this Holy Spirit baptism. Then you will go to the farthest parts of the earth telling people about Me. You’ll be My witnesses.”
Do you know what it means to witness something or be a witness? It means you saw something happen with your very own eyes. For example, if one day you were outside and looked up and saw a bald eagle flying over your head, and you ran and told someone, “Guess what I just saw? I saw a bald eagle flying in the sky.” You witnessed it. So being a witness is not that someone else told you there was a bald eagle flying, but it’s that you saw it with your own eyes and can say, “Yes! That is true.”
Well, the apostles were witnesses to all the amazing and life-changing things Jesus did and said, and now they were about to get His very life in them by His Holy Spirit. They were going to go all over the earth telling others, “Yes! Jesus is true! What He said, what He did… I heard it, I saw it, and He wants you to believe it!”
After Jesus told them these things, His feet left the ground and He went up, up, up into the sky. His apostles were squinting their eyes trying to see Him, but they couldn’t. He was hidden in a cloud. While they were looking and looking for Jesus in the sky, suddenly two men in white clothes stood beside them and said, “Whatcha looking up in that empty sky for? Jesus was just taken up into heaven, but one day He’ll come back, in the very same way you saw Him leave.”
After the whole group had returned to Jerusalem, a new apostle was picked to replace Judas. His name was Matthias and he became one of the 12.
What do you think Jesus’ disciples did next? That’s right. They waited, waited, waited for their present — the Holy Spirit! — just like Jesus told them to.