The DEEP

The Disciples Still Don't Get It.

This is not the Messiah you were looking for.

Acts 1:6-11 (ESV)

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. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

The disciples’ question is way off the mark. “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?

Nevertheless, Jesus doesn’t duck the question; He addresses it directly, though His answer is more general. “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” All times, not just when the kingdom will be restored, are hidden.

They still don’t get it. Their idea of a messiah is still one who would restore the kingdom to Israel – by throwing off Rome, of course. Rather than confront them about their misconceptions, Jesus advances the subject. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

They don’t know what that means, but it sounds really cool. Later, they’ll find out that being His witness includes being tortured and killed.

But for now, they’re pumped. Everything is awesome. Then Jesus is lifted up into the clouds. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes.

They must have jumped out of their skin. There they are, virtually hypnotized, gazing into heaven, when two men appear from out of nowhere and start speaking to them. (“Do not sneak up on me like that!”)

Of course, these are no ordinary men – they’re not men at all – and they have an important message. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

At least this time they know what that means.


One of the great challenges of discipleship is trying to figure out what the Lord is saying to us. Between distractions and our own sinful attitudes, we often miss the message – or it’s clear but we don’t want to hear it. Then there are the times when we thought we understood but later events seemed to refute that.

Be honest about your weaknesses and pray for clarity. Ask God to make His will obvious. If you think you know what He wants, bring that up and ask for confirmation – or even a sign.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.