The disciples went through much during their time with Jesus. Each of them left an occupation and was often separated from their family. I’m sure that many times they were misunderstood and perhaps scorned by others, even as their Master was. They had to try to comprehend how God could become a man. They had let go of many of their lifelong religious teachings and traditions. They witnessed firsthand the horrible crucifixion. They experienced the haunting fear of wondering if they might be crucified as well. They studied the empty tomb and wondered what it meant. They carefully examined the wounds and tried to understand how a dead man could live and breathe again. In the end, they spent forty days after the resurrection, listening to Jesus confirm it all through the writings of the Old Testament. We might say that they had earned their graduate degrees from the school of hard knocks and perhaps in their minds it was now time for the kingdom.
Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? In other words, “Have we finally made our way through all that was required of us and can we now enjoy the promise of living in Your kingdom?” Jesus answered their question by saying: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:7) One translation says – “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.”
Jesus was not simply scolding His disciples. He was taking them deeper into the heart and mind of God. “The Father” Jesus was saying, “has an eternal plan that is operating according to His divine authority.” What is God’s plan? What does God desire to have accomplished? Consider what Jesus said next to His disciples.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
It is God’s plan for His good news of salvation to be shared with every person in the entire world. This involves the people who live next door as well as those who live in foreign lands. This important truth cannot be denied. We can no more neglect our duty to spread the gospel than could the first disciples.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations…
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Luke 14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.