All followers of Jesus are sent into the world just as the Father sent Jesus into the world. The story that they are living out is characterized by joy because the resurrection of Jesus has assured them of eternal life available for all who will surrender to Jesus. They also rejoice because the Holy Spirit empowers them to accomplish the mission no matter the difficulties or complications they will encounter.
Only our risen Lord has authority to define the mission of the church and He has defined it as on-the-go disciplemaking. Our role is to know Him and carry out His mission. He has given us the power to do so through His promised presence realized through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
The ascension of Jesus is not the end of the story. In fact, Jesus’ promise is that His presence, so evidently experienced by the disciples throughout His earthly life, would never depart from His faithful followers. As we go into the New Year, we can be assured of one thing: Jesus will never leave us!