April 19, 2019
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Human nature seems to be pretty consistent. Even after walking with Jesus for nearly three years, eating with Him, hearing Him teach and watching Him suffer, the eleven still had only one thing on their mind. Their only concern was Israel restored to the glory she had when David was king.
In their defense, it had been ingrained in them since childhood. All of Judea expected a conquering Messiah. Like most of us, they probably only studied the parts of scripture that confirmed their beliefs. The suffering servant of Isaiah 52 and 53 probably didn’t make the cut. Those prophecies probably didn’t make sense.
The whole scenario reminds me of how often my prayers focus on my own interests. It’s not that God doesn’t want to hear my heart. But like the disciples, when I focus on my little world, I’m missing the bigger picture of the restoration Jesus came to bring.
For instance, if we skip over to Acts 3 we see Peter’s famous, “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give to you,” and the lame beggar walks. When we read this we focus on Peter’s ability to do miracles and the restoration of a man’s ability to walk. But read on. What if the healing was merely a way for Peter to begin to spread the good news of Jesus. Would any of the folks in that town have listened to him had he not first healed a man who’d never taken a step in his life? We stop at the headings and chapter division in the newer versions of scripture, and overlook the true miracle. And by doing so we miss these words deep into chapter four, “the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.”
The lame man rejoiced, and so he should! What a blessing! What a wonderful personal story of restoration. And while God was equally excited for the man, that healing was just a drop in the bucket, because God’s main goal is the Kingdom. Jesus came to restore the original Kingdom, Eden, to all humankind.
God does give us individual blessings. I never want to be ungrateful for those. But I also don’t want to be like those first eleven followers prior to the Holy Spirit. I never want to be so concerned with what’s going on in my little world that I miss the fact God is orchestrating a million scenarios all at once to advance His glory and to restore my true home, the Kingdom of Heaven.Image by Bruno Glätsch from Pixabay