Day 4: Waiting- Not My Strong Suit (Acts 1:12-26)
Today’s Passage: Acts 1:12-1:26
Human beings, we really are fascinating. Many of us do not “idle well”, especially when we are told to “go and wait”.
The number of stories about people being given clear direction, and their inability to follow those directions, are too many to count. Especially when that direction is to wait.
Consider this task of waiting. Jesus has told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. It is so important that Dr. Luke has recorded it twice.
Today, we actually read of the apostles doing what Jesus commanded them to do.
Their obedience is instructive. Consider how they wait: they worship and they prepare.
They worship a new vision of Jesus—a full vision of Jesus. There are these old-time stain glass windows of Jesus, sitting on a throne, looking like a medieval king, holding the planet in his hand. It was how people back in that day tried, through art, to communicate the power and majesty and grandeur of Lord Jesus—this is who they worshipped that day in the upper room.
Imagine this Upper Room moment. This room is full of their history. I wonder, was it the first time they had been back since Rabbi Jesus, with a towel wrapped around his waist stooped low to wash the dirt of all their feet—even Judas?
Low, on his knees, washing feet as a servant. High on the Cross, dying, as the suffering servant. Lower still as he descended into hell. Highest now of all, at the right hand of God. All of this is beautifully stunning.
And they, the disciples, get it. Their response, in one accord, was worship and prayer.
I wonder, if it was during prayer time that they realized they had an opening on their team. The idea of twelve, symbolic of the twelve tribes, apparently is not just something theologians observed centuries later. It appears this idea of twelve was deeply embedded in them. So much so, that part of their waiting was to prepare—to be ready when Jesus said, “Go!” After all, he has told them they will be his witnesses. Their waiting therefore would be for a fixed period of time.
I also wonder if during their waiting, they pondered just how Jesus would be with them? They had experienced being sent out by him. They had experienced his power at work while he was not physically present. I wonder, did they pray and discuss this dynamic?
As we read the Acts of the Apostles, let’s be looking for their attitude about this work being Jesus’ work (not just theirs).
For what we are about to read, in my mind, is Jesus’ at work. Too often I consider the Gospels describing what Jesus did on earth, and Acts of the Apostles describing what his followers did on earth. That is flawed thinking. Jesus is doing it all, through those who call him Lord.
For me, this is a critical attitude to have. I struggle maintaining this posture. When I live my life following him, thinking he is somehow only my friend, I then too easily slip into thinking I am doing the work, with a little of his help.
When I can hold in my mind that he is friend and Lord, I am better able to live with him working through me because he is ascended into heaven, and the Spirit has descended in me. I stay more even-keeled. Please don’t misunderstand, it is not easy—but I stay even-keeled.
This waiting by Jesus’ followers is that it grounded them at the feet of Jesus their Lord, which in turn prepared them for the in-filling of the Spirit. I am reminded Jesus would “go-away and pray”—perhaps as you read this today, you need some time to wait with a very specific endpoint in mind—getting to the feet of your Lord.