I guess I am a little jaundiced when it comes to product promises that sound too good to be true. Some advertising firms still advise their clients to role out the “unbelievable product/ deal to be coming soon”. Perhaps such grand veiled, hype inducing pledges still work with other people, but they do not even get my attention anymore. Promises of new iPhone or other gadget gets people to attend unveiling conferences and stand in line all night to get the new product. I do not even click on the link anymore.
I just do not quite get it, but then again I still use an iPhone 4 in 2017. The thing still makes and receives calls, keeps my calendar, and can even take pictures (I think my digital camera roll has at least 20 pictures on it). I think the only thing that would get me to stay up past 10:30 to hear new Apple product information would be the greatest phone ever would be available for free … and they had no plans to develop a next version since this one could not be improved. That promise might get my attention. I am not holding my breath.
Reading Acts 1 makes me feel like a new product rollout will happen soon. Luke continued the saga of all that Jesus did and taught in this second volume. He makes it sound like the gospel actually continues. The blowing of the Spirit continues right where he left off. Jesus had given His apostles commandments by the Spirit. The coming promise of the Spirit would greatly exceed John’ water baptism. The Spirit would bring power to witness from home territory to the ends of the earth. This same Spirit that worked in David as he prophesied would play a significant role in part two of the gospel.
What would be this brand-new promise Jesus introduced? He had just died and resurrected. He had spent 40 glorious days with the disciples (a drastically different 40-day period than His other 40 days of testing) where He showed infallible truths and talks about the kingdom of God. One would think the old Jesus was back in full force! And now He promises a new product rollout. Jesus would have my attention along with the others.
Jesus’ words and deeds require a response. Acts 1 illustrates this principle. With the pending new thing, the faithful wanted more information. “Jesus, will you restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
Somehow Jesus did not roll His eyes like technophiles do when they see my ‘vintage’ cell phone. Instead Jesus loving redirects their hopes and curiosity. Jesus simply tells them it is not for them to know the times or the seasons. Then the Master points their attention to the right answer to a more significant question. The better question would have been, “Lord, how do we continue to do Your work after You are gone? How will we be able to do this without You?”
Jesus answered the unasked question, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” His answer revealed how drastically they missed the brand-new opportunity before them. The ‘product’ upgrade exceeded their ability to dream. Their kind of kingdom and their ethnic and geographical limits did not fit the new product any more than the telegraph can compare to the newest phone/computer/camera/video conferencing tool/calendar/word processing/rolodex/portable ‘record player’/video playback machine/general do nearly everything iPhone about to be released.
Jesus’ new product prepared all of His people to go in authority and power to witness the kingdom.
No wonder they did not get it.
They did what they could. They spent time in prayer and supplication. They practiced problem solving and business meetings. Perhaps equally important was their ability to ‘abide in one accord’.
They wanted until the new product came and they could get it.
Luke’s introductory chapter just blew my mind! I do not know how else to say it. Your departure included the wonder of new possibilities for kingdom living and kingdom witnessing. Somehow You gave them, as well as us today, such an unbelievable promise even when we ask bad questions. You actually invite us to be a part of Your work in reconciling the whole world to yourself. Unbelievable!
Lord, forgive me of small thinking and small questioning. Like the original band of followers, I often think I am asking for a new, grand kingdom coming reality when I am really looking in the wrong direction.
Oh Lord, could You speak to us, Your people one more time? Reading Your Word in the authority of the Holy Spirit I believe You want to gift us and send us in places beyond our wildest imagination. As You forgive our bad questions, give us the right answers I pray.
Lord, could You unite us in prayer and supplication? Could You rebuke us of divisions, pride, competition, and clamoring for positions? Could You teach us to problem solve in ways that anticipates the Kingdom’s new work for this season?
I know these questions are too small, so I invite better answers than my questions deserve.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.
In Jesus’ Name,
Thank you for walking with me through Acts 1. Perhaps you will join me in anticipating God’s big kingdom rollout for our world today. I think our questions have been too small. Forgive me if I have ever harmed you in any way. Please let me know so I can get rid of those things in me that inhibit the one-accordness needed for the Next Big Thing waiting room.