Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, 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.”
Once the disciples figured out that Jesus was the Messiah, they thought they understood what the road forward would look like for him and all of Israel. They expected Jesus to combat the Roman Empire, to return Israel to power through the power and might bestowed on him from on high, and that he would rule on Israel’s restored throne like his ancestor King David before him.
The crucifixion was not something any of them saw coming, despite the many times Jesus tried to warn them that it was. It threw a major wrench in their vision of the future.
In this scene, we realize that once Jesus appeared to them after the resurrection, their hope for their vision of what was to be was restored. We hear that hope in their question to Jesus, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” They are wondering if it will finally happen, if their vision for what was to come is about to come to pass.
Jesus’ response to their question puts them right in their place. “It is not for you to know,” he tells them. Only God knows what is going to come to pass and it is only God’s authority that will determine what the road looks like from here.
For a long time now, my guess is that many of you have had a vision of what our church could become and you, like me, might be looking around at how the Spirit is moving right now and asking a similar question in your minds and hearts as the disciples did, “Lord, is this the time?”
“It is not for you to know,” Jesus tells us. For the second we think we know exactly what the plan is, what things are going to look like, what the timeline is, we start to try to take over again. I am convinced that part of why the Spirit is moving in the way it is right now, is that we have surrendered control to God’s authority completely and have been prayerfully waiting for the Spirit to come. That posture of prayer for the Spirit’s movement and guidance must not change in us, even as God starts to move us from a posture of prayerful waiting to a posture of prayerful action. We must trust and rely on God’s authority, not our own.
Let us be united in prayer this day for our congregation and its ministries.
Pray that God’s vision for our future would continue to be revealed to us.
Pray that we would continue to surrender our own will, our own agendas, to God,
putting our trust in God’s authority and will instead of our own.
Pray that the Spirit’s leading would be clear
and that we would faithfully follow it, one step at a time.
Pray that God would move us from a season of prayerful waiting
to a season of prayerful action.