Acts 1 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“So when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, at this time are You restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set 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, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” Acts 1:6-8
Virtually every Jew expected that Messiah was coming to deliver Israel from Roman oppression. The assumption was that Messiah would set up a sovereign united nation, like those of Kings Saul, David, or Solomon…and again under the Maccabees and their Hasmonean descendants. (164-63 BC) This is clearly seen in John 6:15, when after feeding the 5000, they were on the point of seizing Him, in order to make Him a king.
No one grasped Yeshua’s teaching (or the true messages of the prophets), that He had not come this first time to rule, but to die as a “ransom for many” and be resurrected the third day. (Mark 10:33-34, 45) Even Yeshua’s disciples misunderstood and continued to do so after the predicted events had taken place.
It is important to note that the disciples’ question directly pertained to Israel’s national restoration. Yeshua did not rebuke them, or indicate that God’s plan for Israel had been replaced by “the Church”, as some “Christians” would put forth. He simply indicated it wasn’t time for Israel to reform as a nation. Israel’s national restoration occurred in 1948.
But Israel’s national reformation was not the L_rd’s main concern at that moment. Rather, it was the baptism of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and the spreading of His Gospel to the ends of the earth. Yeshua was keeping the “main thing” the main thing.
As in the days before Yeshua ascension to the Father, there are some people, within the greater Messianic community, who are preoccupied with signs & wonders, leading-up to Yeshua’s 2nd coming. Sadly, preoccupation with the “end times” often keeps believers from the “main thing”…the continued spread of the gospel.
Believers should each receive the Gospel, and with it, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then, we should share the gospel. We should know G_d and make Him known. As we read the Bible, we continue to gain knowledge and understanding of God’s character and His requirements of us. With that increasing knowledge and experience of following the Lord comes the responsibility and privilege of participating in the “Great Commission”, so that the whole World can know that Yeshua HaMoshiach has redeemed us!
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Thursday, July 18, 2013