"After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'"
Talk about overwhelming; Jesus is alive again, the disciples have spent 40 days being taught by him and having their minds opened to understand God's eternal plan. Then Jesus both explodes and expands their thoughts about the kingdom, before he gives them what looks like mission impossible - to take the good news and witness about Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. And as if that's not enough, after he's said that he is taken up into the sky. It's no wonder they stand there looking up expectantly into the sky waiting for Jesus, or looking for something, or maybe even waiting for the promised Spirit to come now.
But God has a plan and a purpose for them and he acts to move them on. The two men dressed in white help them see that they are to live in between Jesus going and his coming again. The kingdom is now and not yet. The kingdom is now here because Jesus has come, but it is also not yet as he has left again and it will only fully be realised when he comes again.
It's a bit like pregnancy. When you're pregnant you know you're having a baby, and you are waiting and preparing, getting ready for the day the pregnancy is fulfilled an the baby is there. During pregnancy things have changed, are changing and yet the real change is to come. Until the moment when the baby is born are you a mum or dad? Well, both yes and no. You are already a parent, but you are a parent in waiting, you haven't yet realised your parenthood.
It's like that for the disciples and for us living in between Jesus going and his coming, between his ascension and his triumphant return in glory. Things have changed, are changing and yet the biggest change is to come. And disciples are called to live in the light of expectancy. But they are not just to wait, as it were gazing up into the sky, like the 5 year old who never leaves the window because he knows Grandma and Granddad are coming today. They have their standing orders, orders which are passed on down from disciples to disciple.
What does living expectantly look like? What does living waiting for the kings return look like now? It means living as one of the citizens of his kingdom now, bowing the knee to him and obeying our King's rule. It means living now as if Jesus will return. It means holding out the gospel to a world that is waiting even though people don't realise what the world is waiting for.