Now is our Future
Often I sometimes wonder just how would I have responded and reacted if I was one of the twelve disciples who witnessed Jesus from Nazareth personal suffering, death, burial and resurrection? Would my thoughts, actions, and deeds be any different than the initial twelve that He elected?
One would think that those whom He presented Himself living after resurrection for over a month and ten days, teaching them and loving them while preparing them for their the next phase of the Kingdom of God, His disciples would automatically be equipped to begin their mission in the earth without delay right? Not so fast!
On a day where they all came together at the Mount of Olives, some of the disciples asked the Master about the time of restoration of the kingdom of Israel. The Master immediately redirected the disciple’s focus by stating to them that it is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set through His own authority. What was the basis of the disciple’s question?
The disciples being students of the Jewish texts as well as Old Testament prophecy, first of all theologically, expected that in the end, Israel would be “restored” to a place of great blessing:
Jer. 16:15, but As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.
[In this regard, I would have likewise believed and wished for the very same thing as the original twelve disciples.]
Second, by the disciples asking about Israel’s restoration reflected their pride and desire for an empowered political and national kingdom in the future tense. Seemingly in the natural realm, the summation of Jesus from Nazareth ministry appealed to the physical aspect of those whom He encountered. There was not many that were able to grasp both the spiritual insight and overall Godly revolutionary timing of Jesus’ importance in the world during His first advent.
[Point number two I too would naturally be having the same political and nationalistic mindset and aspirations that the disciples of Messiah entertained.]
Empowered Until the End of This Age
The most important reason for the Master gathering these disciples together was to direct them to the very source of their spiritual calling, concern, and mission after He departs from them. Their misguided concern for the future times and seasons are not their issues, these concerns are for the Creator.
Jesus, in essence, is saying to these disciples as well as all disciples today, that at the present time, there are very important things that must be accomplished before any of us should be concerned about the Messiah’s return. What is it that the disciples were lacking?
Lovingly, the disciples were forced to be concerned about the moment of their service in the newness of The Kingdom of God that The Messiah implemented. Jesus was very interested in developing and maturing all disciples to know and have mastery in their calling and mission.
- “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria and as far as the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8.
By refocusing the attention of the disciples on the things in the present tense, the very thing that they were lacking in their three and a half years with Jesus would eventually be granted to them! The Messiah promised to them that they and future disciples would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak boldly by testifying to all the earth, the message of God’s work through Jesus Christ. This, in essence, would be a disciple’s mission.
Not only will a disciple of The Master have a mission that is made possible by the Holy Spirit of God, but they will have a calling as a witness. This matter of being a witness is entrenched in the Old Testament:
- You are My witnesses declares the Lord. And My servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me, there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. Isaiah 43:10-12
The initial disciples of The Master had direct and real-life experience of every aspect of Jesus’ mission and His message during their short time with Him on earth. It was not until the infilling of the Holy Spirit that transformed them from the ordinary followers to that of bold witnesses who would like their Master, would lay down their lives for their mission and calling.
Modern day disciples are only different from the original twelve in that we were not eye-witnesses to His death and resurrection. Nevertheless, the very life-changing benefits of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are direct benefactors of based upon our faithfulness in His Word and Works. I would risk being almost sure that every other aspect of their mind, emotions, desires, fears are no different than ours.
The power of the Holy Spirit in our lives today grants each of us the same opportunity to stay in the moment, serving God day by day with boldness and faithfulness. Equally so, we are to live and proclaim Christ to the world, while living each moment as a witness for the Kingdom of God, even if it requires losing your life for Christ sake! Amen
[This blog was inspired by my reading and studying Acts 1:6-8]
Grace and Peace