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.”
Observations and Reflections
“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
What is most interesting about the disciples is that they spent 40 days with the resurrected Jesus and were taught many things that others will never know. Yet they failed to understand the Kingdom of Israel was not going to be restored in the way they had hoped. This constant thinking that the messiah would immediately usher in the Kingdom of God is hard to change because it was a core piece of Jewish theology. Virtually all of the prophets depicted the deliverance of Israel, accompanied by the coming of God’s everlasting kingdom.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44)
The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them.28 They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the insults of the nations.30 They shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 34:27-30)
On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter.9 And the Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one. (Zechariah 14:8-9)
The list of prophecies could go one but it would a very redundant list. So what happened? Why does it seem like the last piece and the key piece of messianic prophecy is getting left out? I think there are two answered to this quandary. First, the Jewish people rejected Jesus. That will be a game changer. Part of messianic promise was that a messiah would come before the kingdom and that he would lead Israel. However, Israel’s current leaders were not interested in any such thing and they scoffed at Jesus’ miracles. Secondly, Jesus is not (according to the NT) going to leave us like this forever. Eventually, he will be returning to finish out the rest of the prophecies and that is detailed in John’s Revelation.
In the meantime, we are tasked with preparing the world for his return. We are tasked with building the kingdom here on the earth and when Jesus returns there will be a final judgment. This is consistent with Jewish prophecy. The time period between the first coming and second coming should be interpreted as a result of Jesus being rejected by Israel.
Thus begins the road that will take the Gospel even further than it has before. Jesus has officially left their presence with the promise of one day returning for all of His followers. The Gospel has now been established among the followers of Jesus Christ and it is now up to them to take up where Jesus left off.
The promise that He left them with is His coming return. As usual, the curiosity of the disciples got the best of them and they asked when His return will be. Jesus withholds this information because our focus should be on the time we have been given here to spread the good news of the Gospel to those who are around us.
Right now, the main focus Jesus had in mind for His followers was to begin to build the Church and start spreading the Gospel. The return of Jesus Christ is something that we all as Christians ought to put our true hope in and have that day be something we long for and look forward too.
The day He returns will be a marvelous and happy occasion for the life of a believer. That day will bring unending happiness, hope and peace to all who have chosen to follow after Jesus Christ. As Christians, it is our duty to take that hope and spread to our loved ones, neighbors, co-workers and all who we come into contact with. Let it be our maim mission to win lost souls over to Jesus Christ so that they too, can share in the joy of Jesus Christ’s return.