Sermon Crumbs: Acts 1:6

Sermon Crumbs – Acts 1:6
Posted on May 18, 2014  in Blog, Sermon CrumbsI didn’t have adequate time to enter the discussion about Acts 1:6 this morning and the question the disciples asked of Jesus:
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
Here’s some of what I would have said had there been more time…
As they are taught about the Kingdom of God, and they hear of the promise of the Spirit, it raises other eschatological (end time) expectations of the restoration of Israel.
Is this the time for national Israel to be reestablished?  Are we to expect a return to the days of David and Solomon?  Much discussion has gone into the disciples’ question.
John Calvin wrote, “There are as many errors in this question as there are words.”
In John Stott’s view, “They should not have asked about restoration, since that implied a political kingdom; nor should they have asked about Israel since that anticipated a national kingdom; nor should they have asked about “at this time,” since that implied the kingdom’s immediate establishment.”
Others see no problem with the question because Jesus doesn’t deny a future kingdom for Israel.  It seems that your view on the future of Israel will obviously influence how you interpret the question and Jesus’ response.
I’ll leave you with some thoughts from David G. Peterson’s commentary on the book of Acts and let you wrestle it out from there:
It is often suggested that the apostles’ question was misguided, but this is not so.  Jesus did not deny their expectation of the ‘restoration’.  He endorsed it, but interpreted it in terms of the gift of the Spirit and the fulfillment of prophecies about the restoration of Israel as a servant community, called to be God’s ‘witnesses’ to the nations (Is. 43:10 and 44:8).  The end-time restoration would begin with the pouring out of the promised Spirit and the bringing of God’s salvation, first to Israel and then ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Is. 49:6; cf. Is. 42:6-7).  It would be consummated when Jesus returned (cf. 1:11; 3:20-21).  Through the witness of Jesus’ apostles, ‘the kingdom’ would be restored to Israel, but not in nationalistic or political terms, nor immediately in the full and final sense outlined in biblical prophecy (cf. 3:19-26)

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