February 5, 2018
Act 1:6-8… So, when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in Judea and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
That was not the answer they were hoping for. “They” in this section of scripture, were the people who believed in Jesus. Even in His last minutes on the planet, He was challenged with the question of authority. In their minds, He could set up His kingdom on earth and they would have a much easier life. This request was made to Jesus whom they knew… who had just conquered death. They were not asking a great prophet or good teacher. They knew He was the Son of God. They knew He could grant what they asked. But, His answer was basically, “No.” Instead of giving them the timetable of His Kingdom on earth, He told them what they would receive… “Power, from the Holy Spirit.” That was a wonderful promise, but then He added, “And you will be my witnesses…” So, we learn the priority of being witnesses. God sent the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our witnessing. And, it also gives us the priority of the Holy Spirit. He will preserve the memory of Jesus through the ages. He is not here, primarily, to make a better life for us. He, with the power of God, is magnifying the name of Jesus. When we are involved in that mission, we have his power in us.
I just realized a quandary for Christianity. On one hand, He offers us abundant life. On the other hand He tells us to give our life away. How many times have I asked for more obvious abundance? My measurements for that abundance include stuff on this earth. My ‘rationale’ is that when people see me blessed, they will want whatever I have. That is not the witness of Jesus that I know. He had virtually no earthly goods, but He was filled with the goodness of God. I suppose that is a question we could answer; “If I had to choose between a billion dollars and knowing God which would I choose?” Actually, we do that. “I count everything but loss for the surpassing glory of knowing Jesus.”