To help you better understand the historical-cultural context of the Acts of Faith series (The Centurion’s Wife, The Hidden Flame, and The Damascus Way), I’d like to introduce you to the primary Judean authorities at the early part of Acts. This is Part 10 of 10.
What This Means for Us
Our Lord was absolute master of the universal message. What he said to these groups two thousand years ago has equal and profound importance to us today.
The hunger for the Lord’s return is as real today as it was twenty-one centuries ago. Yet Jesus based his Kingdom message around one simple fact: Our hope is found not in yearning for an other-worldly tomorrow but in drawing near today.
Jesus acknowledges that of course we long for his return. Yet his teachings on the kingdom of heaven relate to God’s presence in the here and now. Jesus sought to realign the disciples’ attention away from two false expectations: First, that God’s Son would overthrow their oppressors with sword and bloodshed, and second, that the Kingdom’s arrival was to be a future event. Jesus repeatedly instructs his followers to focus upon drawing nearer to God now.
The reason for this is starkly simple. Tomorrow never comes.
When Jesus began his ministry there was a great passion for the end times. They were oppressed. They were servants and slaves and beggars in their own land. They did not control their destiny. Their masters were godless, scornful, oppressive, cruel, uncaring. The times Daniel described and Isaiah predicted had to be drawing near.
Yet when the answer came in the form of the living Savior, he overturned their doctrine with the same force as he did the Sadducees’ money carts. Do not concern yourself with the timing of future divine events. Forget these discussions about tomorrow. Stop obsessing over future signs. Because the Kingdom is here. The Kingdom is now.
By setting our sights upon some future day, some distant hour when the heavens split open and all our problems vanish in the blink of a divine eye, we miss a vital point. Jesus wants us to find him where we are. In the dust of this hard road, he is. In the pain of earthly existence, he dwells. His kingdom is now.
By seeking an intimate walk with Jesus through his Holy Spirit, by seeking the kingdom in this very hour, we open ourselves to a festival moment.
Our quest should be to find him in the here and the now.
Not when our pain is gone.
Not when life is easy.
Here are links to each of the books in the Acts of Faith Series. I believe it will enhance your understanding of first-century power players to read the novels as you work your way through this series.
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