So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
In Our Hopelessness
In chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel, he tells of two men traveling to Emmaus who were joined by a man along the road. They did not immediately recognize this fellow traveler—but it was, in fact, Jesus. Ironically, they began to tell Him all about the events that had just taken place in Jerusalem. They didn’t realize that these very events were what led to His own death on the cross. In verse 21, they explain what was heaviest on their hearts: “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
What a tragedy to feel left without hope. You see, Jesus’ death on the cross seemed to be a sign to His followers that He was not actually the one to redeem Israel. They were expecting a warrior king who would conquer the enemies of Israel. In their minds, this humble man who submitted to death on the cross was obviously just another would-be messiah, and once again, His people would have to continue to wait for their redemption and for the coming kingdom of God.
The Things We Don’t Know
Here in Acts 1, Jesus is again with His disciples. Not knowing He was about to ascend to His Father, their question reveals that their same hope has been restored. However, what we now know is that the disciples’ question was a bit myopic. God’s kingdom and His plan to restore were never meant to be limited to one people. Rather, God’s redemptive plan included people from all nations, tribes, and tongues.
We still don’t know when God will—through Jesus—fulfill this plan for the redemption of all things. However, we do know that the restoration has already begun. While Jesus did go to be with the Father, He left His presence with us through the Holy Spirit.
By The Help of The Spirit
So even though the complete restoration will only take place on God’s timetable, through the Spirit, we can participate in building the kingdom now. We are called to hold onto the hope that had been lost for those men on the road to Emmaus. Just as Jesus joined them on their journey, so now His Spirit walks with us to encourage us along the way.
Take a moment to consider the assurance Jesus gave His disciples. Remind yourself of who God is and the hope we hold towards His plan to redeem all things, even our most difficult circumstances. Pray for God to help you trust in Him. Ask Him for more opportunities to share the hope of the God’s coming kingdom with others.