It might be hard to ask when someone is coming back especially if it is Jesus. So the disciples choose the roundabout route. They ask if it is time for God’s kingdom to come now. Jesus was still standing there before them. He had explained how he fulfilled the scriptures. And they remembered there is more to come.
Look at the answer Jesus gives. He reminds them again that only the Father knows. While Jesus is in God and God in Him, there is the separation. Only the Creator knows the moment of his kingdom to come.
Of all the questions they could ask as their last one, they asked Jesus the one question he couldn’t answer.
It was the wrong question. It was the impatience of waiting and the grasping again at the tree of knowledge. They were privileged to be there with Jesus, they must have thought, “Why not get the insider secrets?”
Jesus in his grace doesn’t rebuke them for asking even as he says again that it isn’t for them to know. He tells them they will receive the power of the Holy Spirit and be his witnesses beyond the places they and he have walked so far together. He will pray for them. He will ask God’s protection over them and for them to be restored. He will ask for unity for them.
It isn’t about knowing the timing of God but the trust in him. That’s easy to say, but what does that mean? I watched a video today about how the hymn “In Christ Alone” was written. In it, the original lyrics didn’t start with the words “In Christ Alone.” But it worked as a song to cross denominations and genres of traditional and contemporary music because of the switch to the most important thing coming first.
We can tell each other “Why are you looking up for Jesus?” like the two men in white asked the disciples when Jesus ascended into heaven. As if a call to action, it can get us moving. We see the disciples returned to Jerusalem and went to the upper room to pray. They got ready for their call. But I wish they had said, “Thank you, Jesus, for what you did.” Or “we’ll miss you and want you back soon.” Even if I probably also wouldn’t have thought of these things until after the fact.
We have our questions for Jesus, things we hold onto instead of understanding the answer that matters is in Christ alone. I hope we take time to ask ourselves to ask, why are we still questioning him? What we need to know—all we need to know– is him.