He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,”.
Acts 1:7-8a (English Standard Version)
I know there are people who are upset that the world did not come to an end this morning; they woke up and saw the sun rising and world going about its daily routine. For many of our “prognosticators” it’s a day of wiping some serious egg off their faces!
In the above text, Jesus is giving his disciples some final instructions before his return to the Father. It was at this time when the disciples asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel-meaning if Jesus was going to restore Israel’s sovereign status. But Jesus gave a very thoughtful response that even we can chew on today. Jesus advised his people that it wasn’t for them to know what God had fixed in time. And to make things interesting, Jesus jumped right into the promise of the Holy Spirit’s empowering them to be his witnesses.
This passage-especially for the Household of Faith-is profound in light of today’s “Mayan Apocalypse”/end of the world obsession. First of all, Jesus gave us a reality check that GOD is in charge of what He/She’s fixed in time as far as what events will transpire. It’s not for Mayans, New Agers, Harold Camping, Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins, John Hagee, and the rest of the “eschatology porn” crowd to know. The future’s a mystery, a question mark, a “to be announced” for humanity. I believe that Jesus was telling his crew (and us) to stop obsessing over things that we don’t have control over-namely the future and its events. I also believe that Jesus could have been referring back to Matthew 6:34:
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
We need to live today, to be present here and now, and deal with the issues of this day-thank you Jesus.
If that wasn’t enough, Jesus jumped right in with the promise of the Holy Spirit as if to put a “period” on the time and seasons issue. Jesus’s concern was that his disciples were empowered from the Divine so they can be effective witnesses wherever they went. For our day, we can witness for Jesus by living Jesus in our lives: to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and incarcerated, comfort those who mourn (and we have plenty these days), to speak truth to power, to live fully and love wastefully-all expressions of the Divine. And to live Jesus, we too need the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit-that Divine Erotic Creative power (when I say “erotic” I mean life-giving). It was this very living power that emboldened the disciples (and others afterwards) to be witnesses and to dance the Divine dance of life in the midst of whatever came at them.
Today, Jesus calls for us to live fully and present as expressions of the Divine. We need to be empowered by the Spirit so we can be effective in living now and Divinely. It doesn’t help us to whine over what’s to come since we have no power over it. All we can do is our very best-with God’s help-to live today fully and present to be like Jesus.