Although in the final chapter of Luke the ascension occurs on Easter Day, in the Acts of the Apostles the imagery of 40 days intensifies the story line. It is also mythically alive, a time pregnant with a religious future.
It’s common to confuse ministry leaders with Jesus. We can see ourselves in Judas’s question to Jesus, “How is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Why do we have to carry the message?
A shepherd’s staff has a crook for drawing the sheep away from danger, and a blunt end for prodding them toward places they would rather not go. This week’s texts embrace the tension between the two in the shepherd’s role.
As we encounter the post-resurrection Jesus in this week’s Gospel, brokenness and disappointment permeate—brokenness as thick as the morning mist off the Sea of Galilee, disappointment as pungent as the smell of fish.