Earlier this week I blogged about asking God the wrong questions, and linked that with the Acts 1 passage. And I think I was wrong. Maybe not entirely wrong, but not particularly accurate either.
The disciples were asking a valid question. They’d been hanging out with the risen Messiah for 40 days. Their understanding of the Messiah’s role was centered on the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. Jesus has risen from the dead and he’s been teaching them all about the kingdom of God for the past 40 days.
If I were one of the disciples in Acts 1, I’d at least be thinking the question, “is the kingdom going to be restored now?”. Although I’m a pansy about asking questions, so I probably woudn’t be nervy enough to ask.
And the question is also probably a layered one. The disciples have been cloistered away in Jerusalem, waiting for Jesus’s gift to appear. They survived a frightening time when Jesus was crucified; they’re probably wondering if they’re going to end up dead at this point as well. How long can things stay as they are? If the world has been radically changed by the resurrection of Jesus, why does everything still seem to look and function the same way?
I’ve realized that while I thought Jesus was dodging the question– in reality, he’s not. He’s responding directly, but he’s dealing with more than just the question that was asked. He’s getting to the cause of curiousity–not just the question of time.
The time question isn’t the big deal. The big concern is the disciples roles– to receive the Spirit and to be witnesses. The kingdom is being built and they are part of it. Life is different, even if it doesn’t appear that way at first.