Seventh Sunday of Easter
Text: Acts 1:6-14
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or period 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.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 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 you say him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to a room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
Now, they hoped for the restoring hereof at the coming of the Messiah, and hereupon was it that soon as the apostles saw their Master Christ risen from the dead, they straightway began to think thereupon; but, in the meantime, they declared thereby how bad scholars they were under so good a Master. Therefore doth Christ briefly comprehend in this short answer all the errors whereinto they fell in this their question, as I shall straightway declare. To restore, in this place, doth signify to set up again that which was fallen, and through many ruins grown out of fashion; for out of the dry stock of Jesse should spring a Branch, and the tabernacle of David, which was laid to waste, should be erected and set on foot again.
~John Calvin (Commentary on Acts – Volume 1 / Acts 1:6)
We aren’t good at waiting. Many times we find ourselves in a position like the disciples asking Jesus, “When are you going to do all the things that you said you would do?” I admit that I often fall into the category of people who are not very good at waiting. I get frustrated when the wifi is slow and the video I was watching doesn’t load the very moment I hit the play button. Living a such a fast paced world it can be easy to forget that waiting is a part of what it means to cultivate a spiritual life in Christ.
Waiting isn’t easy. It means that we have to live with the pains as well as the joys of life. And we sometimes don’t realize or remember that being a Christian doesn’t mean we live a pain free life. There is a lot of pain, there is a lot of loss, there is a lot of trying to figure out where God is in the messiness of life. And so I wouldn’t be surprised if the disciples were disappointed that Jesus didn’t make all of their suffering go away in that moment of his ascension.
With the hope of Christ’s return we are left with the hope that one day all things might be restored, that the temple that was once laid to waste may be restored. But let us not forget the disciples had community with one another as we too share in community and fellowship with those around us. May we bear each others joys, sorrows, and strengthen each other as we participate in Christ’s redemptive work in the world.