From the beginning, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge, against God’s directive, to this story in Acts, to the recent media frenzy about the possible end of the world on May 21, we prove that we want to know more than we’re allowed to know!
Jesus says, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
In my circles, there was some discussion about the billboards proclaiming Judgment Day to be May 21. Some of it was light-hearted: “We’ll be at dinner together, IF I’m still here!” Some listened, on that day, to the world news, to see if New Zealand was “hit.” I read reports of people who tried to spend all their money, planning to run out of funds on May 21. I wonder how many people, who don’t know Jesus, are now discrediting the Bible because the so-called Biblical prediction was false?
Jesus tells us it is not for us to know. Could it be that it is in our best interest to listen to Him?! In the same breath that He tells us it is not for us to know the times or dates, He tells us what we are to do: be His witnesses! In Jerusalem (for me, Spring Arbor?), Judea (Jackson?) and Samaria (East Lansing, where my mother lives?), and to the ends of the earth (supporting our missionaries, participating in mission trips?). All day, every day!
Before we can do that, however, we need the Holy Spirit in us. We see the disciples earnestly praying for God’s presence, for the Holy Spirit to come. It’s interesting that they did not go off to their own homes to pray, but they, united in purpose, joined together fervently praying to promote the cause of Christ. Was this the first “missional community?!” A small group who LOVE each other, PRAY together and GO together for Jesus’ sake?
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walkfrom the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:6-14