S (Scripture): Acts 1:6 So when the disciples had come together (after Jesus appeared to them after he was resurrected), they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
O (Observation): The disciples have now seen Jesus in his resurrected state. They are bewildered by his presence, but they also want to know what else is to come. They know that Jesus will come again to restore the kingdom of God to its fullness. So they ask: “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Jesus knows they mean right, because he knows that they wish for the Kingdom to be restored. But Jesus also knows that if they know the time, they might well forget that they have Kingdom work to do in the meantime.
Jesus wants as many people to know about the Gospel (God’s all-inclusive invitation to grace), and reminds those disciples that they will go into Jerusalem (their own backyard), in all Judea and Samaria (neighboring towns and villages), and to the ends of the earth.
Jesus knows they have a lot of work ahead of them. They are called to share this Gospel.
They ask when the Kingdom will be restored. They want to know for good reason (they can’t wait for it!). Their hearts are in the right place…
A (Application): How often do you want to know what others think about you? How often do you want an answer NOW?!?! Do you ever want to know how a decision might affect your future?
Sometimes we can get so wrapped around an axle that we lose sight of the important issue: the journey, the call to trust the Spirit.
We want to get to the finish line so quickly. We don’t stop to smell the roses. We don’t look around while we rush towards the end line. We plow over people on our way to the end.
Yet Jesus calls his disciples to remember: the end game is not to know the time Jesus will come back…but rather, to be about the work of the Kingdom in the meantime. To let folks know that they can stop putting up a front to impress their friends and family, that it’s okay to be vulnerable, that might doesn’t make right, that sacrifice brings glory to God, that love wins. This is the Gospel…and we are to bring it to all the world.
Perhaps the questions we should ask are: Lord, are you there? Lord, am I hearing you right? Lord, where shall I go?
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to ask the right questions for the right reasons. Amen.