Advent Promises

Monday, December 14
…why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:11

I grew up in a church with a heavy emphasis on end times teaching complete with charts of the various events: the return of Christ, the tribulation, the reign of Christ, etc. While I applaud the church’s effort to teach biblical truth, unfortunately I was left with the impression that its version was the only viable option. It was only after personal study and the influence of wise Christians who hold alternative views that I began to understand the rich depth of other perspectives.

The angels’ question to the disciples revs my imagination into high gear! These precious followers have walked and talked and eaten with Jesus for forty days, but their understanding is still blurry—Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?

It’s good to remember that we don’t have a record of every word Jesus said, every act he accomplished. There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books (John 21:25). While remembering that Luke wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, did he omit something between Jesus’ mild rebuke (It’s not for you to know the times or dates…), and his ascension? Did the angels’ words hold just a trace of holy sarcasm? Could they mean—perhaps by tone of voice?—OK people, you have all the information you need now to get to work. Just go to Jerusalem because you’ll soon have more power than you’ve ever imagined. Don’t keep looking into the heavens for information you don’t really need now.

I’m afraid all the charts from my childhood tended to emphasize the important but neglect the urgent: Stop peering into what I’m keeping mysterious. Just go. Good words as we celebrate the first advent and anticipate the second.

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