“Lord, will You at this time restore the economy to the United States?”
How would the Lord answer that question?
I think the text in focus today helps us know.
We’ve got many questions in mind as we face an unknown future, but we’ve still got a mission and power to face the unfinished task in front of us.
Acts 1:6–11 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,  and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (ESV)
What can we learn from this text?
There’s nothing in the text that indicates that the disciples knew Jesus would leave in the middle of a conversation. No doubt the disciples had many conversations for as long as they had known Jesus about the kingdom of God. In light of Christ’s victory over sin and death, the disciples concluded that Jesus would very shortly finalize His victory by conquering all competing human kingdoms and establishing the Kingdom of God in Israel.
Jesus corrected His disciples with “this is not your area of concern but the Father’s.” That’s a needed answer for us creatures under the Creator. There are many things that He alone retains the right to control, and we can live in the confident certainty that He is even now doing all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
Jesus also commissioned His disciples with, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” In other words, the area of concern that the disciples must focus on is the evangelization of the entire world. That’s a big job in and of itself! And from that time until now the task remains unfinished. We still have the work in front of us, and Jesus Christ’s final words resound to our minds and hearts and hands today.
The book of Acts really is amazing, for it shows these fearful disciples boldly proclaiming the authority of Christ to an unbelieving world. How do they do this? By the same Holy Spirit that filled Jesus during His ministry on earth. And we have the same promised Spirit today to transform us, fill us, empower us and gift us for service to this lost world.
In this time we may be asking, “Lord, will you at this time restore the economy to its previous glory?” And like the disciples before us, we too need the words, “You are my witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the end of the world.”
- Many of us are afraid of what is going to happen in this country and around the world as a result of Covid-19 or angry at the way the virus has been handled, even politicized. I don’t minimize any of that, but we are told by Jesus “in this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33) and by the Apostle Paul, “through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
- Consider too that while our heritage as Americans is rich, our Constitution right and excellent in its provisions for us, our ultimate hope is in the Kingdom of God restored on this earth through the returning King Jesus. He is coming again in the cloud of God’s manifest glory to reign over all the earth. Defend what we can of our rights on this earth in the legal ways afforded to us, but never lose faith in the return of Jesus. He’s coming! As certain as the sun rose this morning, He’s coming.
- And face the task unfinished, my brothers and sisters. If we knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ would come tomorrow, would that have any effect on your day today? What effect would that have on your relationship to lost family, friends and neighbors? What effect should that have on how we share the gospel?
Oh, Lord, come! We read that someday You will come in the same way that Your disciples saw You go up. We need You here! We long to get our eyes off the things of earth only, as important as those things are in the right perspective, and to long for Your return as we ought. Oh forgive us Lord for sinful preoccupation with fear according to the tribulation of this age. Fill us again by Your Spirit for life and mission to a lost world cut off from You and Your rule. Maranatha! Amen.
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