Reading: Acts 1:6-11
Verse 6: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
As we begin in Acts 1 this week, let us first step back to the gospel of Luke. At the end of Luke’s gospel Jesus’ last words are: “But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” The gospel closes with Jesus’ ascension into heaven. In Acts, Luke backtracks slightly, sharing a story that happened “on one occasion.” Perhaps it is a retelling of the story at the end of Luke. During this encounter, Jesus instructs them to stay in Jerusalem until they are “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” It is from these statements that the disciples ask, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
In their three years with Jesus they had witnessed his power – the teachings, the miracles, the everyday steadfast obedience to God alone. And then they witnessed his power over even death. They heard him saying something about receiving power from on high. It is not illogical to think that maybe now Jesus will establish the kingdom here on earth, restoring Israel along with all of creation. Jesus answers their question in typical Jesus fashion: not yet, just wait.
Jesus first tells them that it is not for them to know the ‘when.’ That’s up to God. He’s clear though that it’s not yet. Jesus then tells them to focus on the task that he is giving them. Jesus clarifies the “power from on high” concept. The power is so that they can “witness in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Just wait, there is much work to do. Jesus calls them to continued faithful discipleship, leaning into and trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit that is coming soon. Then just wait to see how God is at work in your lives and in the world.
We have received the Holy Spirit. We too have the same task. May we be good and faithful witnesses, empowered by the Holy Spirit, blessed as we experience the working of God daily in our lives.
Prayer: Lord God, in those days it was so much for the disciples to take in, to process, to begin to understand. The same can be true for us. So, Lord, help us to lean into and to trust in the power and in the working of the Holy Spirit. Thank you. Amen.