Vs 6 ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel’? In essence this question needs to be understood from the perspective of the Jewish followers of Jesus. Since their exile to Babylon six hundred years before the Jewish people never felt like they had fully returned. Yes, they had a second temple that wasn’t as glorious as the first, but they always had an overlord. A foreign power had always sat over them. The prophecy was that a Jewish King ‘David’ would sit on the throne again (Jeremiah 33:14-26). Autonomy. In control of their destiny with the Lord backing them.
That was the hope. So here is the risen Jesus who has just pulled off the most incredible display of power, He must be God. Who else could raise themselves from the dead?
One of the bravest disciples asks Jesus ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel’?
Jesus reply here is the same to us today,
‘It is not for you to know the times or epochs (A particular period in time) which the Father has fixed by His own authority.’
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth’
Acts 1:6-8 NASB.
Just like in the disciple’s day the prophetic of the Bible can get some excited. Some predict we are living in the ‘end times.
In truth we have never been closer to the return of Jesus as of today.
While there is a lot of speculation around ‘signs’ and end times floating around on the internet I think Jesus words here once again speak to us as they did to the disciples two thousand years ago.
Only the Father knows the end date, to speculate would be to know more than Jesus, vs 7.
Jesus does however point to where our focus should be; undertaking the task He has set before us. Being witnesses to the good news to all the earth. That includes doing that where He has called you too today.
To punctuate this idea, as the disciples stood around looking up into the air watching Jesus go, there appeared to them two angels who spoke to them and brought their focus back to the mission Jesus had just spoken to them.
‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into the sky? vs 11
Jesus told many parables about inaction. The ten virgins probably sum it up best. In Matthew 25 Ten virgins are waiting for the bridegroom to arrive and collect them, they are all there for the same purpose. Five of them were wise and five were foolish. Five wise ones took their lamps and extra oil, five only took their lamps. The bridegroom took a long time. At midnight the cry went out ‘Here is the bridegroom’! The five wise virgins trimmed their wicks on their lamps and had oil to get going straight away. The five foolish asked for oil from the wise ones but there was not enough for all. Go and buy some oil the wise told the foolish. Time was wasted and the five foolish virgins miss out because of there unpreparedness.
Jesus, when finishing this story that Matthew recalls ends with this:
Therefore, keep watch because you don’t know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:13
Jesus has set us a task to undertake, in spreading the gospel. Jesus’ brother James later in Acts 15 suggests when it comes to sharing the gospel, that this is our major priority.
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. - Acts 15:19 NIV
I believe it is therefore all too easy to get caught up in the ‘End is nigh’ mentality when our focus should be on who needs to know the good news that they can be saved.
When Christ returns (and He will) be found on task. Sharing His message and removing anything that hinders people coming to faith.