The Series - Jesus, Unique & Unequaled Teacher (49/50)
Focus Text: Acts 1.4-8
How many questions did the apostles ask Jesus during His ministry? I don’t know the answer but it would probably prove to be an interesting exercise to go through the gospel accounts and study each of these as well as Jesus’ response. Today’s devotional does not deal with all the questions Jesus was asked by the apostles, just the last one. This final question is presented along with the immediate context in today’s focus text.
“And [Jesus] being assembled together with them [the apostles], He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’” (Acts 1.4-8).
Not being clairvoyant, I don’t profess to know what was in the minds of the disciples as they asked, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” However, I do know one thing; they had totally missed the nature of the kingdom on many occasions and it is likely that they were still missing it here. Regardless of that, the response of Jesus demands our attention. Note first of all, Jesus did not answer the question; He responded to it, but He did not answer it. In what might be seen as a rebuke, He said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.”
There were some things that even Jesus did not know during His earthly ministry (see Matthew 24.36). Apparently when He became flesh, He limited Himself such that He did not or could not know some things (see Philippians 2.5-8). It follows that if there existed a class of things that the Son did not need to know, there certainly were things that the apostles had no need of knowing. The final question that they asked of Jesus apparently fell into this category. For purposes of our discussion here, the significant thing about Jesus was His intense focus on things that mattered. His eye was on heaven and He would not take it off for anyone or any thing! Even a last minute question by curious and perhaps somewhat frightened disciples could not detour Him from His focus!
Jesus had spoken of needing to put the kingdom first and seeking it as a number one priority (Matthew 6.33-34). He said nothing about putting curiosity first. The challenge was to seek the kingdom; not attempt to find out irrelevant details about it. Focus is primary in any worthwhile endeavor, especially when it comes to pleasing God. The flesh truly is weak sometimes (see Mark 14.38), but that does not excuse us from our duties. Jesus knew both how to focus on the eternal and how to stop idle curiosity in its tracks! Jesus was the unique and unequalled Teacher; He was eternity focused!
1. Had you been one of the apostles, might you have been the one who asked Him this final question? [Don’t answer too hastily; Peter didn’t think he would deny Him either.]
2. During Jesus earthly ministry, what things had the apostles gotten wrong about the kingdom? [Research question]
3. What does Deuteronomy 29.29 say about some secret things?
4. What does being “eternity focused” have to do with Colossians 3.2?
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