TIMING IS THE FATHER'S BUSINESS
"When they were together for the last time, they asked, 'Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?'
"He told them, 'You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the world.'" Acts 1:6-8 (The Message).
The disciples were like bulldogs with a bone. They never let go of their belief that Messiah was going to free them from the Romans. Just think of how much of the impact of Jesus' teaching they missed because they had a fixation for getting rid of Rome. It was probably one of the motivations behind Judas' betrayal. Perhaps he wanted to shock Jesus into action -- but it didn't work.
Their constant squabbling was always about who would be 'Prime Minister' in Jesus' cabinet. His teaching about greatness in the kingdom of God fell on deaf ears. They could not understand it because it always collided with their preconceived idea about the kingdom of God.
Even the cataclysmic events of the past few weeks had not dislodged their expectation. Now Jesus was about to leave them and He had still not said or done anything about the Romans! All the instruction He had given them about the kingdom of God over the past forty days had been filtered through the notion that He would take action now so that they could administer the new kingdom for Him after He had gone.
They finally brought their expectation out into the open. 'Is this the time?' they asked, hoping against hope that He would say yes. The answer they got cut them short, once and for all. 'Timing is the Father's business.' It was not their business, and neither is it ours, to question God's timing or intentions. Like the disciples, this is often something that consumes us so much that we miss the bigger picture and the valuable lesson.
These men were about to learn a new way of life. Up to now they had Jesus with them. He set the pace and they tagged along, not knowing what was going on but content to be with Him and let Him do the stuff while they watched and listened. They did what He told them and went where He sent them. He had given them authority and power and they had tasted some of the impact of the kingdom He was presenting.
From now on He would no longer be with them in person. They had witnessed the Holy Spirit's power in His life. Now it was their turn. His physical presence would give way to the Spirit's internal residence and they would have to learn to recognise His voice and follow His leading from within. This would put a new responsibility on them; to learn to discern His voice, understand His leading and follow His instructions.
Jesus did not leave a "Google map" for them, with all the details of the journey and the destination. That would have been so much easier to follow. Instead He promised them another person just like Himself; same disposition, same power, same wisdom, same purpose, same destination, but one who would be in their spirits, always there, always the same, always in charge.
This time they would do the stuff and the world would watch and listen and be convinced that Jesus is, after all, who He said He is. The issue is, like the disciples, like us, do we listen and follow, or do we ignore the Holy Spirit and do life our way? There is no better way to squelch the work of God on earth than to do it our way.
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