Luke writes in Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
The author establishes the validity and the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He notes that Jesus appeared to His Disciples on various occasions giving proof that He was and is alive. There are three specific resurrection accounts found in the Gospels (Mat. 28, Luke 24, and John 20) and they alll give accounts of Jesus’ encounters with the disciples. Another noteworthy New Testament passage, I Cor. 15:3 – 8 is an interesting accounts as it documents Jesus appearing to over 500 people at one time and He also appeared to the Apostle Paul. Paul establishes the resurrection as the central part of the Gospel message; without the resurrection Christianity is empty, void and false (1 Corinthians 15:14).
For forty days Jesus walked the earth post resurection appearing to many people talking about the Kingdom of God. Luke goes on to tell of one specific encounter with Jesus and the disciples that brings up the topic of the Kingdom of God.
In verse 6 the disciples anxiously ask Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” And in a gentle rebuke He responds, “It is not for you to know the times and dates the Father has set by His own authority.” In other words, “It’s none of your business.” This response had a little reprimand behind it because Jesus knew what they were really asking and it seemed as though they still weren’t getting the big picture. The reality is that the disciples were asking a three fold question (we'll look at the first one today).
When are you going to establish your new political kingdom?
These men were Hebrews. They had grown up in the great hope of the Hebrew people. For centuries this nation had been waiting for Messiah to come and re-establish the nation of Israel to its place of glory. They wanted a restoration of what they were familiar with. They wanted things to be like the good ole days when King David and Israel reigned supreme. They were stuck in the past and couldn’t see the big picture of what the Kingdom truly was.
They were like class mates that have never been able to see or live life beyond high school or college. They were people who gloried in the past and looked back with fondness on the old days as though these were the best days of their life. To these peoplen life ended at graduation. I feel sad for these people. They live life like their best days are past and the future holds nothing for them. Their mantra is “If only things could be like they used to.” They fail to see that the world has moved forward but they have not. I feel sad for these people because they fail to see that each day brings forth new adventures and new possibilities. As believers we are supposed to embrace the future and the hope that we have. We can’t live our lives always reveling in the old days.
The disciples couldn’t see that Jesus wasn’t talking about the good ole days. The kingdom of God was not about going back; it was about going forward and making an impact on history and the future. As believers we need to be forward thinkers. We can certainly respect the past but we cannot be stuck in the supposed "good ole days". Instead we need to focus on looking forward to expanding the Kingdom of God here on earth for God’s glory and His purpose. We can look back on our history with fondness, but we need to realize that in order for God’s Kingdom to advance here on earth we must advance as well.