Monday Devotional: May 15, 2023
Bible Reading: Acts 1:6-11 (NRSVUE)
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
“Are we there yet?” This question captures a weariness from travel and an eagerness to arrive. Whether on a family road trip or working toward a professional goal, exhaustion and excitement often merge on a journey.
In today’s passage, the disciples had already been on quite a journey with Jesus. They were with him when he healed the sick and preached good news to the poor. They wilted as he was beaten and crucified. They were astounded to discover he had been raised from the dead. They could not recognize him on the road to Emmaus. Now they have gathered together for a meal with their resurrected Lord. After this sort of journey, how could their question not come from deep exhaustion and eager anticipation: “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom of Israel?” Are we there yet?
Jesus’ answer is twofold: Such things are not for them to know and they will receive power. Power, Jesus seems to say, doesn’t mean having all the answers. Although the disciples’ journey to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth will require tremendous power, Jesus does not supply answers. Rather, he gives purpose and the promise of God’s Spirit. Jesus equips his disciples with what they need (power) when they need it (purpose) and then ascends into heaven before their very eyes.
Surely this must have prompted more questions! And this reading says it did — not from the disciples but from two angelic figures: “Why do you stand here looking up toward heaven?”
We are part of God’s purpose. You are empowered with God’s Spirit. This is our journey, questions and all.
God, when unanswered questions seem to block the path, open our eyes to the purpose we have been given and our hearts to the power of your Spirit. Amen.
By Maureen Knudsen Langdoc, The Upper Room Disciplines 2023, page 168.