6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 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.” 9 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. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 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.”
As children very few of us were excited about or parents answering our questions with the infamous reply, “Because I said so.” As a kid we might be tempted to think that our parents don’t have an answer and that’s just their way of throwing the “adult-trump-card” to get out of a hard conversation.
But more often than not the problem is that we weren’t ready for the answers.
Generally speaking most parents do have answers to our childhood questions. But they know that some things can be explained and still not make sense if the mind that is attempting to grasp the concept is not mature enough to hold onto the explanation.
In today’s text, the disciples begin to pepper Jesus with questions about the coming of the kingdom. They want it now, they don’t want to wait, they assume that Jesus is going to go to heaven, grab the kingdom real quick, and immediately come right back.
They sound an awful lot like children, don’t they?
But Jesus subtly tells them that their desire to know a time, or to have a countdown clock for the full implementation of the kingdom of heaven on earth will actually be a hindrance to their maturity. Granted, He does not say this specifically, but what we understand about the nature and character of God is that He never makes people wait without purpose.
What we understand about the nature and character of God is that He never makes people wait without purpose.Tweet
When God chooses not to do things as quickly as we want him to do them it isn’t because He can’t, and it isn’t because we have not asked the right way. Sometimes it’s simply because God alone knows that there is more benefit, joy and glory in the process of waiting than there is in the act of getting.
So Jesus says, “ it is not for you to know.”
But before we sulk out of the room, frustrated with another, “because I said so,” look closely: just because Jesus says that we will not know the times or seasons, that does not mean that we will not know anything.
After Jesus ascends into the heavens, His disciples and followers just stand around looking up at the sky. Presumably, at first they were in awe of what happened, like a small child watching the space shuttle takeoff they just kept watching long after there was nothing left to see.
But it seems that there was a moment where gazing in wonder changed to stubbornly staring.
The angel who was present looks at the people and asks, “why do you keep on looking? He just told you that you would not know the time or season.” The angel also tells them something that is powerful and profound, delivering a word that would allow them to stop staring, get walking, and go to Jerusalem to confidently wait for the fullness of God’s promise – which is a much better strategy than staring at empty sky.
The angel says, “this same Jesus, whose feet just lifted off of this earth, will return in the same way.”
And that was enough.
Sometimes the things that we think we need to know in order to move forward in our life – the explanations or promises we think we need from God – aren’t actually the most important things.Tweet
Sometimes the things that we think we need to know in order to move forward in our life – the explanations or promises we think we need from God – aren’t actually the most important things. Maybe we don’t need to know the exact time or season that the Lord is going to return. Maybe what’s most important is to hold firmly to the simple confidence that He is returning.
Maturity isn’t so much about having all the answers, often times it’s about asking better questions. And the question that we actually need answered to sustain our faith, to obey the voice of God, to grow up in a relationship with Christ is not, “when are you coming back?” but, “how can I walk with you, how can I know you, and how can I obey you while I’m waiting?”
What if Jesus is asking the same thing of us that He asked of His disciples so long ago? What if He’s asking us to trust Him with the timing, and simply obey Him in the meantime?
Sounds tough for those of us who like to be in control of everything. But look at the payoff. Trusting and waiting were the key ingredients for being baptized in the Spirit of God! It might be easy to question Jesus when He first asks us to trust, but no one in the upper room was questioning the wisdom of the Lord after the Wind blew in.